Ore grade, metal production, and energy

Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
By:  and 



 Recent resource estimates have been stimulated by national concern over present and pending shortages of energy and mineral resources. Although some believe that the resource base of a commodity is the total amount in the crust, the energy consumption for mining and milling under present technology suggests that grades of the metallic ores have a lower limit when production is assumed to be for common usages. The tonnage required to mine and mill ores to obtain one unit of metal is a hyperbolic function of the grade, and as the tonnage increases hyperbolically, so does the energy consumed. For copper, the hyperbolic relation suggests that deposits with grades below about 0.20-0.25 percent Cu will not be mined to produce metal for common electrical and construction uses. Although the energy used to mine and mill a unit of metal differs from one metal to another, all show the hyperbolic increase in energy consumption as grade decreases.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ore grade, metal production, and energy
Series title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Volume 3
Issue 1
Year Published 1975
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description 5 p.
First page 9
Last page 13
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