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Porphyry copper assessment of northeast Asia: Far East Russia and northeasternmost China: Chapter W in Global mineral resource assessment

June 19, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey assesses resources (mineral, energy, water, environmental, and biologic) at regional, national, and global scales to provide science in support of land management and decision making. Mineral resource assessments provide a synthesis of available information about where mineral deposits are known and suspected to be in the Earth’s crust, which commodities may be present, and estimates of amounts of resources in undiscovered deposits.

A probabilistic mineral resource assessment of undiscovered resources associated with porphyry copper deposits in northeast Asia—composed mainly of Far East Russia and a small part of northeasternmost China—was completed as part of a global mineral resource assessment. Porphyry copper deposits are the main source of copper globally. Russia is an important source of copper, consistently ranking as 6th, 7th, or 8th in world production since 2000, and ranked 7th in 2014. Most of this production has been from magmatic copper-nickel-platinum-group element, volcanogenic massive sulfide, and sediment-hosted copper deposit types.

The purpose of the assessment was to (1) compile a database of known deposits and significant prospects, (2) delineate permissive areas (tracts) for undiscovered porphyry copper deposits that may be present in the upper kilometer of the Earth’s crust, and (3) provide probabilistic estimates of amounts of copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), gold (Au), and silver (Ag) that could be contained in undiscovered porphyry copper deposits in the tracts. The assessment was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with geologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences and industry consultants.

The database of known deposits, significant prospects, and prospects includes an inventory of mineral resources in two known porphyry copper deposits, as well as key characteristics derived from available exploration reports for 70 significant porphyry copper prospects and 86 other prospects. Resource and exploration and development activity are updated with information current through February 2013.