Concepts & Topics

Geological information and the potential of deposits

Washing and separating wolframite concentration in a small surface mine in Rwanda (March, 2011)

Knowledge of a country’s mineral resource deposits is an essential prerequisite for the development of an extractive sector according to the principles of sustainability. This knowledge is gathered in the form of geological information, and is held in mineral deposit inventories, exploration reports and investment manuals, for example. By making geological information available, countries can reduce the financial risk of exploration for companies and thus encourage investment in exploration. The more extensive the geological information made available by the state, the easier it is for businesses to gain a foothold in the country’s extractive sector.

Calculating the economic viability of deposits

Not every natural resource deposit can be exploited economically. After completing a successful exploration, therefore, mining companies conduct an economic feasibility study, which provides the basis on which to decide whether or not the deposit will be mined. As a rule the mining company submits the feasibility study to the mining supervisory authority in order to obtain a mining licence. One of the tasks of mining supervisory authorities is to examine the feasibility study for the deposit as part of a licensing procedure. Knowing how to interpret geological information is essential for this. Find out more about this topic here. more

Determining, designating and administering small-scale mining zones

The contribution made by artisanal and small-scale mining to economic development varies from country to country. Experience around the world shows that the more the sector is formalised and supported, the greater the contribution it makes to a country’s economic development. Numerous partner countries would like to designate specific mining zones in order to formalise artisanal and small-scale mining, with the aim being to enable better supervision of these activities. The sector programme therefore develops procedures to allow these small-scale mining zones to be identified, designated and administered. Find out more about this topic here. more

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