Geologists and others working in the field of mineral exploration and mining use
precise terminology to describe and classify minerals deposits, based on increasing
levels of geological knowledge and confidence, and the feasibility of economic
recovery. Although the terms mineral resources and reserves are sometimes used by
other scientists and the media, they are frequently confused and/or used incorrectly.
This can lead to misconceptions and flawed predictions that we may soon ‘run out’
of certain minerals and metals. While it is true that the Earth is a finite system, there is
no prospect of physical exhaustion of minerals and metals in the foreseeable future.
Questioning how much we have left in the Earth’s crust is a serious diversion from
the immediate challenge of rapidly approaching environmental limits associated
with current methods used in the extraction and refining of minerals and metals.