Table 3: Mineral Resources

TABLE 3. Australia's Identified Mineral Resources as at December 2016

This table provides a long-term view of Australia's mineral inventory. The economic category, as defined in the National Classification System, provides a long-term view of what is likely to be available for mining. For shorter term, commercial viewpoints of the economic category see Table 1 (Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources at Operating Mines) and Table 2 (Australia's Ore Reserves). For a global outlook on Australia's production and resources see Table 4 (World Rankings).

Commodity Units Australia World
Demonstrated Resources Inferred
Resources (2)
Accessible
EDR (3)
Mine
Production
 2016 (4)
Economic
Resources
2016 (5)
Mine
production
 2016 (6)
Economic (EDR) (1) Subeconomic
Para-marginal Sub-marginal
Antimony kt Sb138.9 8.8 0 190.6 138.9 5.5(*) 1500 130
Bauxite Mt6005 144
1429 1942 6005 82.152 28 000 271.5(*)
Black coal  
in situ Mt85 753 1370 4421 104 151        
recoverable Mt70 927 1018 3815 81 864 64 045 566.3(*) 712 000(*) 7795(*)
Brown coal  
in situ Mt92 887 44 069 234 987 124 326        
recoverable Mt76 508 41 112 215 449 103 579 66 439 63.3(*) 317 000(*) 783.3(*)
Chromium kt Cr0 302 0 6786 0 0 500 000(*) 30 400(*)
Cobalt kt Co1164 426 25 1238 1164 (*) 7000 123
Copper Mt Cu87.78 1.27 1.09 48.15 87.78 0.948 720 19.4
Diamond Mc115.84 00 20.93 115.84 13.958 750(*) 127
Fluorine kt F343 505 6 2301 343 0 126 000 3100(*)
Gold t Au 9830 213 67 4389 9800 288 57 000 3255(*)
Iron 
Iron ore Mt 49 588 10 939 1433 90 123 49 588 858 173 769 2230
Contained Fe Mt
23 771 3672 480 40 342 24 326 531 82 986  
Lead Mt Pb35.09 3.00 0.14 31.92 35.09 0.45 88 4.82
Lithium kt Li2730 0 0 966 2730 14(*) 15 130 34.7(*)
Magnesite Mt MgCO3320.48 21.90 35.00 849.74 320.48 (*) 8500 27.7(*)
Manganese ore Mt219 2.8 190.2 379.7 219 3.2(*) 1790 44
Mineral sands  
Ilmenite Mt276.9 26.2 0.03 235.1 247.0 1.4 1523.2 11.6
Rutile Mt33.0 0.3 0.06 34.1 29.1 0.3 64.6 0.7
Zircon Mt78.6 1.1 0.07 61.3 72.1 0.6 118.2 2.4
Molybdenum kt Mo210 1220 0.5 614 210 0 15 133 227
Nickel Mt Ni18.5 4.1 0.1 23.3 18.5 0.204 78 2.25
Niobium kt Nb286 15 0 418 286 0 >4500 64
Oil shale GL0 213 2074 1472 0 0 760 934(*)n.a.
PGE (Pt, Pd, Os, Ir, Ru, Rh) t metal5.3 140.4 1.4 168.6 2.6 (*)67 000 380
Phosphate  
Phosphate rock Mt1072 312 0 2461 1072 (*) 68 000 261
Contained P2O5 Mt180 61 0 403 188      
Potash Mt K2O56 7 0 91 56 0 4300 39
Rare earths (REO & Y2O3) Mt3.43 0.35 29.22 25.81 3.43 0.014(*)120 0.126
Silver kt Ag89.29 1.79 0.49 52.00 89.29 1.418 570 27.0
Tantalum kt Ta75.7 7.4 0.2 32.9 75.7 (*) >100 1.1
Thorium kt Th0 129.9 0 644.2 0 0n.a. n.a.
Tin kt Sn486 65 31 319 486 6.635 4657 278
Tungsten kt W391.0 0.4 4.5 240.0 391.0 0.11(*) 3484 86.5
Uranium kt U1270 13 19 915 1212 6.314 3472(*) 62.0(*)
Vanadium kt V2111 14 677 1376 17 002 2111 0 19 000 76
Zinc Mt Zn 63.5 0.59 0.75 38.44 63.5 0.884 220 11.9

Abbreviations

t = tonne; kt = kilotonnes (1000 t); Mt = million tonnes (1 000 000 t); Mc = million carats (1 000 000 carats); GL = gigalitre (1 000 000 L); n.a. = not available. Where an element symbol follows the unit it refers to contained metal content.

 
Notes
1.Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) predominantly comprises Ore Reserves and most Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources that have been reported in compliance with the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Code  to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). In addition, some reserves and resources have been reported using other reporting codes to foreign stock exchanges and Geoscience Australia may hold confidential data for some commodities.
2.  Total Inferred Resources in economic, subeconomic and undifferentiated categories.
3.  Accessible Economic Demonstrated Resources (AEDR) is the portion of total EDR that is accessible for mining. AEDR does not include resources that are inaccessible for mining because of environmental restrictions, government policies or military lands.
4.  Source: Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2017 published by the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), Department of Industry, Innovation and Science unless otherwise stated.
5.  Source: Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017 published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and adjusted with Geoscience Australia data, unless otherwise stated.
6.   Source: Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017 (USGS) unless otherwise stated.
*
Antimony Mine production (Costerfield operation) reported by Mandalay Resources Corp to Toronto Stock Exchange 23 February 2017.
BauxiteWorld bauxite production sourced from the OCE (Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2017).
Black coalAustralian mine production refers to raw coal. World economic resources dated 2015, sourced from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany (Energy Study 2016). World mine production sourced from the OCE (Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2017).
Brown coalAustralian mine production is a Geoscience Australia estimation. World mine production sourced from International Energy Agency (Coal Information 2017 Overview). World economic resources dated 2015, sourced from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany (Energy Study 2016).
ChromiumWorld resources and mine production presented as chromite ore.
CobaltThe Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (Statistics Digest 2015-16) reported 5.47 kt of production in 2015-16.
DiamondWorld resource figures are for industrial diamonds only, no data provided for resources of gem diamonds.
FluorineWorld mine production excludes the USA.
GoldWorld mine production sourced from the OCE (Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2017).
LithiumAustralian mine production is not reported for the Greenbushes Mine. Production figures are based on reported production of concentrates for Greenbushes (Lithium: investment opportunities, Western Australia. Commodity Summary, Geological Survey of Western Australia, 2016), and ASX reported tonnages of concentrates for Mount Marion and Mount Catlin. Concentrates are assumed to contain 6% Li2O. World mine production excludes the USA.
Magnesite The Department of State Development, South Australia (Report Book 2017/00014) reported magnesite production of 6554 t in 2016. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Annual mineral and metal statistics) reported magnesite production of 462 901 t in 2015-16. World mine production excludes the USA.
ManganeseProduction figures from South32 Ltd (Annual Report 2016).
Oil ShaleWorld resources from World Energy Council (Survey of Energy Resources 2013).
PGEThe Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum (Statistics Digest 2015-16) reported 687 kg of platinum and palladium by-product was produced during 2015-16.
Phosphate Phosphate rock is reported as being economic at grades ranging from 8.7% to 30.2% P2O5. Christmas Island mined 508 201 t in 2016. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Annual mineral and metal statistics) reported phosphate production of 1 034 957 t in 2015-16. Minor production (1972 t) was recorded in South Australia (Report Book 2017/00014).
Rare Earths Mount Weld in Western Australia supplies rare earth mineral concentrates to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia. Lynas Corporation Ltd (Quarterly Reports to the ASX) reported that LAMP produced 13 872 t of ready-for-sale rare earth oxides.
TantalumThe Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (Statistics Digest 2015-16) reported tantalite production of 183 t in 2015-16.
TungstenMine production estimated at approximately 108 t, based on figures released by Tasmania Mines Ltd for the Kara operation (Quarterly Reports to the ASX) and by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland for 2015-16 (Annual mineral and metal statistics).
UraniumWorld economic resources sourced from the International Atomic Energy Agency estimate for Reasonable Assured Resources (RAR) recoverable at costs of less than US$130/kg U and Geoscience Australia. World production sourced from the OCE (Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2017).

Terminology and Definitions - National Classification System

The National Classification System for Identified Mineral Resources has been used by the Australian Government since 1976 for classifying mineral resources for regional and national assessments. In brief, it uses the following terminology and definitions.

Resource: A concentration of naturally occurring solid, liquid, or gaseous materials in or on the Earth’s crust and in such form that its economic extraction is presently or potentially (within a 20-25 year timeframe) feasible.

Identified Resource: A specific body of mineral-bearing material whose location, quantity and quality are known from specific measurements or estimates from geological evidence for which economic extraction is presently or potentially (within a 20-25 year timeframe) feasible.

To reflect degrees of geological assurance, Identified Resources can be divided into Measured Resources, Indicated Resources and Inferred Resources where Measured Resources have the most geological confidence and Inferred Resources the least.

With the application of modifying factors and mine planning, Measured Resources  can be converted into Proved Ore Reserves or Probable Ore Reserves and Identified Resources can be converted into Probable Ore Reserves.

Demonstrated Resource:A collective term for the sum of Measured and Indicated Resources, including Proved and Probable Ore Reserves.

Economic: This term implies that, at the time of determination, profitable extraction or production under defined investment assumptions has been established, analytically demonstrated, or assumed with reasonable certainty.

Economic Demonstrated Resource (EDR): A Demonstrated Resource that is regarded as economic under the definition above. The EDR category provides a long-term view of what is likely to be available for mining (potential supply).  It does not include Inferred Resources which do not have enough geological confidence to support mine planning.

Subeconomic: This term refers to those resources that are geologically demonstrated but which do not meet the criteria of economic at the time of determination. Subeconomic Resources include paramarginal and submarginal categories:

  • Paramarginal: That part of Subeconomic Resources which, at the time of determination, could be produced given postulated limited increases in commodity prices or cost-reducing advances in technology. The main characteristics of this category are economic uncertainty and/or failure (albeit just) to meet the criteria of economic.
  • Submarginal: That part of Subeconomic Resources that would require a substantially higher commodity price or major cost-reducing advance in technology to render them economic.

Accessible Economic Demonstrated Resource (AEDR): Some resources have enough geological confidence to be considered a demonstrated resource and, in normal circumstances, would also be regarded as economic but they are not currently available for development because of legal and/or land-use restrictions. They are included in EDR but not in AEDR.