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).
|Demonstrated Resources||Inferred Resources2||Accessible CPCDR3||Mine Production 20174||Economic Resources 20175||Mine Production 20176|
|In situ||Mt||87 490||1422||4287||109 263|
|Recoverable||Mt||72 571||1056||3820||86 073||66 385||5598||715 8009||760010|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Lithium||kt Li||2803||0||<1||1907||2803||21.318||15 700||45.5|
|Molybdenum||kt Mo||160||1272||<1||610||160||0||17 000||290|
|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 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.|
|Rare Earths30||Mt oxide||3.27||0.35||30.21||24.81||3.27||0.01731||121||0.131|
|Vanadium||kt V||3965||10 854||1376||12 412||3965||0||21 500||80|
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.
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.