GMEG - Mineral and Environmental Resources
Probabilistic mineral resource assessments performed by the USGS estimate the amount of undiscovered resources, and the uncertainty associated with the estimate, of particular commodities within an area. The assessments range in scale from global to national to region, with their intended audience having a similar range from international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, and Congress to federal intelligence agencies to local federal offices and state agencies. The assessment information can influence foreign policy decisions, but are mostly used by land managers in formulating land-use policies and decisions. Over the past 25 years, grade, tonnage, and density models were developed for the more common ore-deposit-types, in order to reduce uncertainties in the assessment process. This research has produced about 250 descriptive deposit models, between 175 and 200 grade and tonnage models, numerous deposit density models, and established guidelines for estimating of number of deposits within a particular study area. Despite these progressive efforts, many opportunities still remain to develop new procedures, models and guidelines that will reduce, but never totally eliminate the associated uncertainties and risks.
Over the past decade, three major issues that pertain to mineral resources have merged;
The USGS Mineral Resources Program is chartered to provide Congress and federal and state agencies with sufficient information on the mineral resource potential within various parts of the world and the U.S., and even within particular land tracts that are being considered for urbanization, wildlife refuge, or industrial exploitation, such that these entities can make informed decisions on land use and national security issues. This project provides the fundamental tools by which the federal government assesses the potential mineral resources within a particular region. The assessments are no more complete or accurate than the tools and models used in the assessment and, therefore, the tools require continued improvements in order to reduce uncertainty and risk in their application within the context of ever-evolving principles of deposit genesis and occurrence and dynamic exploitation economics.
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