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Resources

Reserves
The economic potential of an aggregate resource can only be proved by a detailed evaluation programme, involving drilling and associated test work to prove that a deposit of sufficient quantity and quality is present. Such an investigation is an essential precursor to submitting a planning application for mineral working. Since there is no guarantee that planning permission will be granted, the capital involved in acquiring a site and evaluating its economic potential is at risk.
     
That part of a mineral resource, which has been fully evaluated and is deemed commercially viable to work and has a valid planning permission for extraction is called a mineral reserve.
 
That part of a mineral resource, which has been fully evaluated and is deemed commercially viable to work, is called a mineral reserve. However, in the context of land-use planning, the term mineral reserve should be further restricted to those minerals with legal access and for which a valid planning permission for extraction also exists (i.e. permitted reserves). Without a valid planning consent no mineral working can legally take place. Because of increasing concerns about the environmental and social impact of mineral workings, access to mineral deposits has now become the major determinant of where mineral extraction may or may not take place. This factor is likely to become increasingly important in the future.
  Examination of drillcore by geologists

Examination of drillcore by geologists.

Reserves will need to meet not only the requirements of geological certainty and economic viability but also accessibility based on legal permission to extract the mineral. The relationship between resources and reserves is shown below. The important point to recognise is that permitted reserves are only a small part of total resources.

Relationship of reserves and resources
The ultimate fate of a mineral reserve is to be either physically worked out or to be made non-viable by changing economic, technological, environmental and/or social circumstances. Reserves are of crucial importance to a mineral company as they represent its future assets. They are also of crucial importance to the planning process in ensuring that an adequate and steady supply of aggregate is available to meet society's future needs.