Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM


LAMBERT, Ian B., Secretary General, International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Canberra, 2605, Australia and OBERHAENSLI, Roland, University of Potsdam and President, IUGS, Potsdam, 14476,

Population growth and the aspirations of developing nations mean it will be vital to find major new resources of key mineral commodities by the middle of the century, to satisfy the needs of future generations. This is challenging given that (i) discovery rates of quality mineral deposits have been falling in major mining nations as the focus moves to buried mineralisation; and (ii) restrictions on where mining can be conducted will continue to grow as more land is committed for housing, feeding and servicing people and sustaining natural systems. Increasing attention will be given to regions where paucities of detailed geological knowledge and infrastructure have limited modern exploration, including many lower income countries and remote regions. Responsible mining offers real opportunities for development, but this requires adequate geoscience capacity, legislative frameworks and regulatory regimes, as well addressing negative perceptions.

General priorities for resourcing future generations include:

  1. Comprehensive evaluation of future global mineral resources, demand and supply for selected commodities, to provide enhanced information on which commodities are of concern post 2030.
  2. Enhanced information on the uppermost crust, particularly through geophysical studies, for more effective delineation of subsurface mineral, energy and water resources, managing wastes and assessing environmental condition.
  3. Modern evaluations of resource potential in under-explored and historical mining regions to guide future exploration.
  4. Building capacity, institutions and infrastructure for more effective exploration and development in poorer countries, including training in good governance and socio-economic considerations.

IUGS is scoping a major initiative to address the challenges in securing natural resources for the very long term. The scale will be regional (pre-competitive), the coverage global and the duration about ten years. It is intended that interested groups from governments, universities, and companies around the world will collaborate, and that integrated systems research will draw on advances in sensor systems, data management and computing power.