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.