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CIM DEFINITION STANDARDS - For Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves
Prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions
Adopted by CIM Council on November 27, 2010
CIM Council, on August 20, 2000, approved the “CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves – Definitions and
Guidelines,” developed by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions. The CIM Definition Standards on
Mineral Resources and Reserves (CIM Definition Standards) establish definitions and guidelines for the reporting of
exploration information, mineral resources and mineral reserves in Canada. The Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve
definitions were incorporated, by reference, in National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral
Projects (NI 43-101), which became effective February 1, 2001.
At the August 20, 2000 Council meeting a new CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions was established.
Subsequent to the publishing of the August 20, 2000 CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, various CIM
committees have compiled and published more extensive documentation on mining industry standard practices for
estimating Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. These standard practices provide more detailed guidance than
that contained in the August 20, 2000 CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves. On November 14, 2004 and
November 27, 2010, CIM Council adopted an update to the CIM Definition Standards to reflect the more detailed
guidance available and effect certain editorial changes required to maintain consistency with current regulations.
This version of the CIM Definition Standards includes further editorial changes required to maintain compatibility
with the new version of National Instrument 43-101 which is expected to become law in 2011. The CIM Definition
Standards can be viewed on the CIM website at www.cim.org.
Readers should be aware that reports written by persons issuing technical reports that disclose information
about exploration or other mining properties to the public are governed by a number of regulations in Canada. The
most important of these are NI 43-101 for mineral properties and National Instrument 51-101 for oil and gas
CIM DEFINITION STANDARDS
The CIM Definition Standards presented herein provide standards for the classification of Mineral Resource and
Mineral Reserve estimates into various categories. The category to which a resource or reserve estimate is assigned
depends on the level of confidence in the geological information available on the mineral deposit; the quality and
quantity of data available on the deposit; the level of detail of the technical and economic information which has
been generated about the deposit, and the interpretation of the data and information. In the document the
definitions are in bold type and the guidance is in italics.
Throughout the CIM Definition Standards, where appropriate, „quality. may be substituted for „grade. and
„volume. may be substituted for „tonnage.. Technical Reports dealing with estimates of Mineral Resources and
Mineral Reserves must use only the terms and definitions contained herein.
Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates and resulting Technical Reports must be prepared by or under the
direction of, and dated and signed by, a Qualified Person.
A “Qualified Person” means an individual who is an engineer or geoscientist with at least five years of
experience in mineral exploration, mine development or operation or mineral project assessment, or any combination
of these; has experience relevant to the subject matter of the mineral project and the technical report; and is a
member or licensee in good standing of a professional association.
The Qualified Person(s) should be clearly satisfied that they could face their peers and demonstrate
competence and relevant experience in the commodity, type of deposit and situation under consideration. If doubt
exists, the person must either seek or obtain opinions from other colleagues or demonstrate that he or she has
obtained assistance from experts in areas where he or she lacked the necessary expertise.
Determination of what constitutes relevant experience can be a difficult area and common sense has to be
exercised. For example, in estimating Mineral Resources for vein gold mineralization, experience in a high-nugget,
vein-type mineralization such as tin, uranium etc. should be relevant whereas experience in massive base metal
deposits may not be. As a second example, for a person to qualify as a Qualified Person in the estimation of
Mineral Reserves for alluvial gold deposits, he or she would need to have relevant experience in the evaluation and
extraction of such deposits. Experience with placer deposits containing minerals other than gold, may not
necessarily provide appropriate relevant experience for gold.
In addition to experience in the style of mineralization, a Qualified Person preparing or taking
responsibility for Mineral Resource estimates must have sufficient experience in the sampling, assaying, or other
property testing techniques that are relevant to the deposit under consideration in order to be aware of problems
that could affect the reliability of the data. Some appreciation of extraction and processing techniques applicable
to that deposit type might also be important.
Estimation of Mineral Resources is often a team effort, for example, involving one person or team collecting
the data and another person or team preparing the Mineral Resource estimate. Within this team, geologists usually
occupy the pivotal role. Estimation of Mineral Reserves is almost always a team effort involving a number of
technical disciplines, and within this team mining engineers have an important role. Documentation for a Mineral
Resource and Mineral Reserve estimate must be compiled by, or under the supervision of, a Qualified Person(s),
whether a geologist, mining engineer or member of another discipline. It is recommended that, where there is a
clear division of responsibilities within a team, each Qualified Person should accept responsibility for his or her
particular contribution. For example, one Qualified Person could accept responsibility for the collection of
Mineral Resource data, another for the Mineral Reserve estimation process, another for the mining study, and the
project leader could accept responsibility for the overall document. It is important that the Qualified Person
accepting overall responsibility for a Mineral Resource and/or Mineral Reserve estimate and supporting
documentation, which has been prepared in whole or in part by others, is satisfied that the other contributors are
Qualified Persons with respect to the work for which they are taking responsibility and that such persons are
provided adequate documentation.
Preliminary Feasibility Study (Pre-Feasibility Study)
The CIM Definition Standards requires the completion of a Preliminary Feasibility Study as the minimum
prerequisite for the conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves.
A Preliminary Feasibility Study is a comprehensive study of a range of options for the technical and
economic viability of a mineral project that has advanced to a stage where a preferred mining method, in the case
of underground mining, or the pit configuration, in the case of an open pit, is established and an effective method
of mineral processing is determined. It includes a financial analysis based on reasonable assumptions on mining,
processing, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental considerations and
the evaluation of any other relevant factors which are sufficient for a Qualified Person, acting reasonably, to
determine if all or part of the Mineral Resource may be classified as a Mineral Reserve.
A Feasibility Study is a comprehensive technical and economic study of the selected development option
for a mineral project that includes appropriately detailed assessments of realistically assumed mining, processing,
metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental considerations together with any
other relevant operational factors and detailed financial analysis, that are necessary to demonstrate at the time
of reporting that extraction is reasonably justified (economically mineable). The results of the study may
reasonably serve as the basis for a final decision by a proponent or financial institution to proceed with, or
finance, the development of the project. The confidence level of the study will be higher than that of a
Exploration information means geological, geophysical, geochemical, sampling, drilling, trenching,
analytical testing, assaying, mineralogical, metallurgical and other similar information concerning a particular
property that is derived from activities undertaken to locate, investigate, define or delineate a mineral prospect
or mineral deposit.
It is recognised that in the review and compilation of data on a project or property, previous or historical
estimates of tonnage and grade, not meeting the minimum requirement for classification as Mineral Resource, may be
encountered. If a Qualified Person reports Exploration Information in the form of tonnage and grade, it must be
clearly stated that these estimates are conceptual or order of magnitude and that they do not meet the criteria of
a Mineral Resource.
Mineral Resources are sub-divided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into Inferred, Indicated
and Measured categories. An Inferred Mineral Resource has a lower level of confidence than that applied to an
Indicated Mineral Resource. An Indicated Mineral Resource has a higher level of confidence than an Inferred Mineral
Resource but has a lower level of confidence than a Measured Mineral Resource.
A Mineral Resource is a concentration or occurrence of diamonds, natural solid inorganic material, or
natural solid fossilized organic material including base and precious metals, coal, and industrial minerals in or
on the Earth's crust in such form and quantity and of such a grade or quality that it has reasonable prospects for
economic extraction. The location, quantity, grade, geological characteristics and continuity of a Mineral Resource
are known, estimated or interpreted from specific geological evidence and knowledge.
The term Mineral Resource covers mineralization and natural material of intrinsic economic interest which
has been identified and estimated through exploration and sampling and within which Mineral Reserves may
subsequently be defined by the consideration and application of technical, economic, legal, environmental,
socio-economic and governmental factors. The phrase „reasonable prospects for economic extraction. implies a
judgement by the Qualified Person in respect of the technical and economic factors likely to influence the prospect
of economic extraction. A Mineral Resource is an inventory of mineralization that under realistically assumed and
justifiable technical and economic conditions might become economically extractable. These assumptions must be
presented explicitly in both public and technical reports.
Inferred Mineral Resource
An „Inferred Mineral Resource. is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity and grade or
quality can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonably assumed, but not
verified, geological and grade continuity. The estimate is based on limited information and sampling gathered
through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill
Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to Inferred Mineral Resources, it cannot be assumed that all or
any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource will be upgraded to an Indicated or Measured Mineral Resource as a result
of continued exploration. Confidence in the estimate is insufficient to allow the meaningful application of
technical and economic parameters or to enable an evaluation of economic viability worthy of public disclosure.
Inferred Mineral Resources must be excluded from estimates forming the basis of feasibility or other economic
Indicated Mineral Resource
An „Indicated Mineral Resource. is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality,
densities, shape and physical characteristics, can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the
appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support mine planning and evaluation of the
economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing
information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and
drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological and grade continuity to be reasonably
Mineralization may be classified as an Indicated Mineral Resource by the Qualified Person when the nature,
quality, quantity and distribution of data are such as to allow confident interpretation of the geological
framework and to reasonably assume the continuity of mineralization. The Qualified Person must recognize the
importance of the Indicated Mineral Resource category to the advancement of the feasibility of the project. An
Indicated Mineral Resource estimate is of sufficient quality to support a Preliminary Feasibility Study which can
serve as the basis for major development decisions.
Measured Mineral Resource
A „Measured Mineral Resource. is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality,
densities, shape, and physical characteristics are so well established that they can be estimated with confidence
sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support production
planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable
exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as
outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough to confirm both geological and
Mineralization or other natural material of economic interest may be classified as a Measured Mineral
Resource by the Qualified Person when the nature, quality, quantity and distribution of data are such that the
tonnage and grade of the mineralization can be estimated to within close limits and that variation from the
estimate would not significantly affect potential economic viability. This category requires a high level of
confidence in, and understanding of, the geology and controls of the mineral deposit.
Mineral Reserves are sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into Probable Mineral Reserves and Proven
Mineral Reserves. A Probable Mineral Reserve has a lower level of confidence than a Proven Mineral
A Mineral Reserve is the economically mineable part of a Measured or Indicated Mineral Resource
demonstrated by at least a Preliminary Feasibility Study. This Study must include adequate information on mining,
processing, metallurgical, economic and other relevant factors that demonstrate, at the time of reporting, that
economic extraction can be justified. A Mineral Reserve includes diluting materials and allowances for losses that
may occur when the material is mined.
Mineral Reserves are those parts of Mineral Resources which, after the application of all mining factors,
result in an estimated tonnage and grade which, in the opinion of the Qualified Person(s) making the estimates, is
the basis of an economically viable project after taking account of all relevant processing, metallurgical,
economic, marketing, legal, environment, socio-economic and government factors. Mineral Reserves are inclusive of
diluting material that will be mined in conjunction with the Mineral Reserves and delivered to the treatment plant
or equivalent facility. The term „Mineral Reserve. need not necessarily signify that extraction facilities are in
place or operative or that all governmental approvals have been received. It does signify that there are reasonable
expectations of such approvals.
Probable Mineral Reserve
A „Probable Mineral Reserve. is the economically mineable part of an Indicated and, in some
circumstances, a Measured Mineral Resource demonstrated by at least a Preliminary Feasibility Study. This Study
must include adequate information on mining, processing, metallurgical, economic, and other relevant factors that
demonstrate, at the time of reporting, that economic extraction can be justified.
Proven Mineral Reserve
A „Proven Mineral Reserve. is the economically mineable part of a Measured Mineral Resource demonstrated
by at least a Preliminary Feasibility Study. This Study must include adequate information on mining, processing,
metallurgical, economic, and other relevant factors that demonstrate, at the time of reporting, that economic
extraction is justified.
Application of the Proven Mineral Reserve category implies that the Qualified Person has the highest degree
of confidence in the estimate with the consequent expectation in the minds of the readers of the report. The term
should be restricted to that part of the deposit where production planning is taking place and for which any
variation in the estimate would not significantly affect potential economic viability.
RESOURCE AND RESERVE CLASSIFICATION
Technical Reports dealing with estimates of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves must use only the terms and
the definitions contained herein. Figure 1, displays the relationship between the Mineral Resource and Mineral
The CIM Definition Standards provide for a direct relationship between Indicated Mineral Resources and Probable
Mineral Reserves and between Measured Mineral Resources and Proven Mineral Reserves. In other words, the level of
geoscientific confidence for Probable Mineral Reserves is the same as that required for the in situ determination
of Indicated Mineral Resources and for Proven Mineral Reserves is the same as that required for the in situ
determination of Measured Mineral Resources.
Figure 1 sets out the framework for classifying tonnage and grade estimates so as to reflect different
levels of geological confidence and different degrees of technical and economic evaluation. Mineral Resources can
be estimated by a Qualified Person, with input from persons in other disciplines, as necessary, on the basis of
geoscientific information and reasonable assumptions of technical and economic factors likely to influence the
prospect of economic extraction. Mineral Reserves, which are a modified sub-set of the Indicated and Measured
Mineral Resources (shown within the dashed outline in Figure 1), require consideration of factors affecting
profitable extraction, including mining, processing, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental,
socio-economic and governmental factors, and should be estimated with input from a range of disciplines. Additional
test work, e.g. metallurgy, mining, environmental is required to reclassify a resource as a reserve.
In certain situations, Measured Mineral Resources could convert to Probable Mineral Reserves because of
uncertainties associated with the modifying factors that are taken into account in the conversion from Mineral
Resources to Mineral Reserves. This relationship is shown by the dashed arrow in Figure 1 (although the trend of
the dashed arrow includes a vertical component, it does not, in this instance, imply a reduction in the level of
geological knowledge or confidence). In such a situation these modifying factors should be fully explained. Under
no circumstances can Indicated Resources convert directly to Proven Reserves.
In certain situations previously reported Mineral Reserves could revert to Mineral Resources. It is not
intended that re-classification from Mineral Reserves to Mineral Resources should be applied as a result of changes
expected to be of a short term or temporary nature, or where company management has made a deliberate decision to
operate in the short term on a non-economic basis. Examples of such situations might be a commodity price drop
expected to be of short duration, mine emergency of a non-permanent nature, transport strike etc.
GUIDANCE FOR REPORTING MINERAL RESOURCE AND MINERAL RESERVE INFORMATION
The following discussion is included for additional guidance when preparing a Technical Report. For the CIM
Definition Standards a Technical Report is defined as a report that contains the relevant supporting documentation,
estimation procedures and description of the Exploration Information, or the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve
Technical Reports of a Mineral Resource must specify one or more of the categories of „Inferred.,
„Indicated. and „Measured. and Technical Reports of Mineral Reserves must specify one or both of the categories of
„Proven. and „Probable.. Categories must not be reported in a combined form unless details for the individual
categories are also provided. Inferred Mineral Resources cannot be combined with other categories and must always
be reported separately. Mineral Resources must never be added to Mineral Reserves and reported as total Resources
and Reserves. Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves must not be reported in terms of contained metal or mineral
content unless corresponding tonnages, grades and mining, mineral processing and metallurgical recoveries are also
Qualified Persons are encouraged to provide information that is as comprehensive as possible in their
Technical Reports on Exploration Information, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. The Mineral Exploration Best
Practices Guidelines, the Estimation of Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Best Practice Guidelines and the
Guidelines for the Reporting of Diamond Exploration Results provide, in a summary form, a list of the main criteria
which should be considered when reporting Exploration Information, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserve estimates.
These guidelines are available on the CIM website,www.cim.org.
These Guidelines are not prescriptive and it may not be necessary to comment on each item in the guidelines,
however, the need for comment on each item should be considered. It is essential to discuss any matters that might
materially affect the reader's understanding of the estimates being reported. Problems encountered in the
collection of data or with the sufficiency of data must be clearly disclosed at all times, particularly when they
affect directly the reliability of, or confidence in, a statement of Exploration Information or an estimate of
Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves; for example, poor sample recovery, poor reproducibility of assay or
laboratory results, limited information on tonnage factors etc.
Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves must be reported on a site by site basis.
Where estimates for both Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves are reported, for consistency, it is recommended
that Mineral Resources be reported exclusive of Mineral Reserves. Notwithstanding, it is recognized that there are
legitimate reasons, in some situations, for reporting Mineral Resources inclusive of Mineral Reserves (the
Australian approach) and, in other situations, for reporting Mineral Resources additional to Mineral Reserves (the
South African and United States approach). When reporting both Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, a clarifying
statement must be included that clearly indicates whether Mineral Reserves are part of the Mineral Resource or that
they have been removed from the Mineral Resource. A single form of reporting should be used in a report.
Appropriate forms of clarifying statements may be: •„The Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are inclusive of those Mineral Resources modified to
produce the Mineral Reserves," or
• „The Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are additional to the Mineral Reserves."
Inferred Mineral Resources are, by definition, always additional to Mineral Reserves.
REPORTING OF COAL RESERVES
For consistency in public reporting of coal resources and reserves, it is recommended that all issuers use
the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve categories set out in the CIM Definition Standards. Qualified Person(s)
should be guided by the Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserve Best Practices Guidelines for Coal and
by GSC Paper 88-21: A Standardized coal Resource/Reserve Reporting System for Canada. It is acceptable to use the
GSC Paper 88-21 as a framework for the development and categorization of coal estimates, but the GSC 88-21
categories should be converted to the equivalent CIM Definition categories for public reporting. When using GSC
88-21 as a framework, in the classification of coal by A.S.T.M. ranking, the “Group” designation is preferred over
the less descriptive “Class” designation.
REPORTING OF INDUSTRIAL MINERALS
When reporting Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates relating to an industrial mineral site, the
Qualified Person(s) should be guided by the Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice
Guidelines for Industrial Minerals.
REPORTING OF DIAMONDS AND GEMSTONES
When reporting diamond Exploration Information and Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves the Qualified
Person is expected to comply with the CIM Guidelines for the Reporting of Diamond Exploration Results and the
Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice Guidelines.
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