Table 3: Mineral Resources

Table 3. Australia's Identified Mineral Resources as at December 2017

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 5 (World Rankings).

CommodityUnitAustraliaWorld
Demonstrated Resources Inferred Resources2 Accessible CPCDR3 Mine Production 20174 Economic Resources 20175 Mine Production 20176
Economic (EDR)1Subeconomic
ParamarginalSubmarginal
Antimony kt Sb 138.2 8.8 0 186.0 138.2 4.617 1550 150
Bauxite Mt 6015 144 1429 2079 6015 87.9 30 000  305
Black Coal
In situ Mt 87 490 1422 4287 109 263     
Recoverable Mt 72 571 1056 3820 86 073 66 385 5598 715 8009 760010
Brown Coal
In situ Mt 92 887 44 069 234 987 124 326     
Recoverable Mt 76 508 41 112 215 449 103 579 66 439 5311 316 50012 83013
Chromium kt Cr 0 302 0 6584 0 0 510 00014 31 00014
Cobalt kt Co 1222 307 22 1282 1222 5.815 7100 110
Copper Mt Cu 87.47 1.76 0.36 46.59 87.47 0.860 790 19.7
Diamond Mc 39.68 0 0 20.30 39.68 17.14 109016 138
Fluorine kt F 343 505 6 2301 343 0 135 000 290017
Gold t Au 10 070 185 62 4627 10 040 292 54 500 3140
Graphite Mt 7.14 0.06 0 6.05 7.14 0 270 1.2
Iron
Iron ore Mt 47 987 11 450 1383 92 570 47 987 883 168 400 2400
Contained iron Mt Fe 23 251 3656 476 42 006 23 251 547 81 900 1470
Lead Mt Pb 36.42 2.70 0.14 23.28 36.42 0.459 89 4.71
Lithium kt Li 2803 0 <1 1907 2803 21.318 15 700 45.5
Magnesite Mt MgCO3 316 73 35 943 316 <119 7750 2720
Manganese Ore Mt 231 3 190 360 231 5.621 68222 1622
Mineral Sands
Ilmenite Mt 276.5 26.2 <1 236.5 245.2 1.523 1450 11.1
Rutile Mt 32.9 0.3 0.1 34.8 29.0 0.323 67 0.7
Zircon Mt 78.3 1.1 0.1 62.3 71.8 0.523 118 2.0
Molybdenum kt Mo 160 1272 <1 610 160 0 17 000 290
Nickel Mt Ni 19.7 3.1 <1 20.0 19.7 0.179 74 2.1
Niobium kt Nb 216 15 0 397 216 024 >4500 64
Oil Shale (recoverable) GL 0 213 2074 1472 0 0 961 87325 n.a.
PGE t metal 24.9 136.7 0 125.5 22.3 <126 69 300 41027
Phosphate
Phosphate rock28 Mt 1170 312 0 2369 1170 1.529 70 300 261
Contained P2O5 Mt P2O5 198 57 0 389 198 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Potash Mt K2O 58 8 0 105 58 0 3900 42
Rare Earths30 Mt oxide 3.27 0.35 30.21 24.81 3.27 0.01731 121 0.131
Silver kt Ag 90.31 2.31 0.49 40.53 90.31 1.120 535 24.9
Tantalum kt Ta 55.4 1.3 0.2 25.7 55.4 n.a. >89 1.3
Thorium kt Th 0 113 0 626 0 0 n.a. n.a.
Tin kt Sn 415 63 32 372 415 7.4 4740 290
Tungsten kt W 386 0 5 232 386 <132 3200 95
Uranium kt U 1290 13 21 840 1232 5.344 345833 5934
Vanadium kt V 3965 10 854 1376 12 412 3965 0 21 500 80
Zinc Mt Zn 67.52 0.45 0.75 36.68 67.52 0.841 237 13

Abbreviations
t = tonne; kt = kilotonnes (1000 t); Mt = million tonnes (1 000 000 t); Mc = million carats (1 000 000 carats); GL = gigalitre (1 000 000 000 L); n.a. = not available; PGE = platinum group elements (Pt, Pd, Os, Ir, Ru, Rh).
Where an element symbol follows the unit it refers to contained metal content.

Notes

1. Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) predominantly comprise 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. Australian mine production from Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2018 published by the Office of the Chief Economist, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science unless otherwise stated. Production data often have a higher level of certainty than reserve and resource estimates and, thus, may be presented with more significant figures.

5. World economic resources from Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018 published by the USGS and adjusted with Geoscience Australia data, unless otherwise stated.

6. World production from Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018 published by the USGS and adjusted with Geoscience Australia data, unless otherwise stated.

7. Australian antimony production from company reports.

8. Australian black coal production refers to raw coal.

9. World economic resources of black coal (2016) from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany (Energy Study 2017) and adjusted with Australian data.

10. World mine production of black coal from International Energy Agency (Coal Information 2018 Overview) and adjusted with Australian data.

11. Australian brown coal production is a Geoscience Australia estimate and refers to raw coal.

12. World economic resources of brown coal (2016) from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany (Energy Study 2017) and adjusted with Australian data.

13. World mine production of brown coal from International Energy Agency (Coal Information 2018 Overview) and adjusted with Australian data.

14. World economic resources and mine production are presented as chromite ore.

15. Australian cobalt production from company reports and Geoscience Australia estimates.

16. World resource figures are for industrial diamonds only, no data provided for resources of gem diamonds.

17. World mine production of fluorine excludes the USA.

18. Lithium production is a Geoscience Australia estimate based on Mineral and Petroleum Statistics Digest 2016–17, published by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Western Australian Government.

19. The Department of State Development, South Australia (Report Book 2017/00014) reported magnesite production of 3241 t in 2017. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Annual mineral and metal statistics) reported magnesite production of 207 603 t in 2016–17.

20. World mine production excludes the USA.

21. Australian manganese production from company reports. Minimum estimate as Woodie Woodie production unknown.

22. World economic resources and mine production are presented as manganese content, not manganese ore.

23. Australian mineral sands production from company reports.

24. There are no mines producing niobium as a primary product in Australia. It is possible that niobium is produced as a by-product at some lithium/tantalum operations, but these data have not been reported.

25. World resources of oil shale from World Energy Council (World Energy Resources 2016).

26. The Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Mineral and Petroleum Statistics Digest 2016–17) reported 783 kg of platinum and palladium produced as by-product in 2016–17.

27. World mine production is platinum and palladium only.

28. Phosphate rock is reported as being economic at grades ranging from 8.7% to 30.2% P2O5.

29. Geoscience Australia estimate based on reported mining production of 550 140 t from Christmas Island in 2017; 1213 t from South Australia in 2017 (Report Book 2018/00017); and 940 827 t from Queensland in 2016–17 (Queensland Annual Mineral Summary).

30. Rare earths comprise rare earth oxides (REO) and yttrium oxide (Y2O3).

31. 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 17 264 t of ready-for-sale rare earth oxides in 2017.

32. Australian tungsten production from company reports.

33. World economic resources from the International Atomic Energy Agency estimate for Reasonably Assured Resources recoverable at costs of less than US$130/kg U published in Uranium 2016: Resources, Production and Demand (the Red Book).

34. World production of uranium from World Nuclear Organisation.


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.