Resource Development, Regional Planning and Ore Reserves

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 781, 1977

D. M. Watson, Head, Regional Development Section, Mineral Development Sector, Energy, Mines & Resources Canada

Mineral discoveries and subsequent extraction have led to the establishment of many small communities, some major towns and a few cities. In Canada, such developments have essentially occurred without benefit of long-range regional or local planning. In the past, this was not a cause for concern. Now, however, rising expectations and reorientation of social values have placed increasing responsibility on government and industry to ensure the long-term viability of communities and regions. Such responsibility means large investments by government in infrastructure and by industry in extractive and processing plants. Uncertainty in the interpretation of ore reserve estimates becomes a critical factor. The traditional methods of reporting reserves — "proven", "probable", "possible" — may be useful in individual mine production planning, but they are inadequate for planning industrial and public infrastructure. The need for a better information base is critical, with clear and precise definitions of what is being reported, but we are a long way from achieving it. The challenge is therefore to develop a closer professional relationship between government and industry and to tie mineral development to long-range regional strategies.
Keywords: Mineral resources, Resource development, Regional planning, Ore reserves, Town planning, Lead, Zinc.