Technical Announcement: USGS Puts Global Copper Assessments on the Map

Release Date:

We're putting our assessments on the map...literally!

Image shows a map of the world with sediment-hosted copper in red and porphyry copper shown in pink.
This map shows copper in sediment-hosted and porphyry deposits around the world. Credit: USGS

Scientists and resource managers will now be able to look through U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) global assessments of undiscovered copper by using geographic information systems to make maps and explore the data. These assessments are located throughout the world.

In 2014, USGS released the first-ever global assessment of undiscovered copper resources, estimating a mean of 3.5 billion metric tons. The assessment focused on two deposit types that are the most significant sources of global copper supply—porphyry copper deposits and sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits. The global assessment had several purposes:

  1. Compile databases of known copper deposits and significant copper prospects for the two deposit types.
  2. Delineate geology-based permissive areas (tracts) for undiscovered copper deposits at a scale of 1:1,000,000.
  3. If possible, estimate numbers of undiscovered deposits within those permissive tracts.
  4. Provide probabilistic estimates of amounts of copper and co-product resources that could be contained in those undiscovered deposits.

This final data compilation is a single Esri file geodatabase that includes results from all twenty-two regional reports completed by the USGS and cooperating geological surveys for the Global Mineral Resource Assessment study. The geodatabase contains separate datasets for porphyry copper, sediment-hosted stratabound copper, and basemap data.

This integrated collection of spatial databases provides location, geologic, and mineral resource data, as well as source references for deposits, significant prospects, and areas permissive for undiscovered deposits of both porphyry copper and sediment-hosted copper.

These data can be queried in many database management systems as well as a GIS to reveal the distribution, geologic setting, and resource potential of porphyry copper and sediment-hosted copper deposits and to model grade and resource tonnage.

This report can be found here. The assessment and regional studies can be found here. The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment. Follow us on Twitter!