European Geologist Journal 41
On the harmonisation of Serbian classification and accompanying regulations on resources/reserves of solid minerals with the PERC standard
By Miloje Ilich* and Radoslav Vukas
*Belgrade, Serbia, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Classification of “Reserves” (in fact: Resources and Reserves) of Solid Minerals and the accompanying Regulations, both contained in The Book of Regulations (1979) ‒ a legal supplement to the former Law (1977), have been officially applied in Serbia up to now, although they were exclusively created for ex-Yugoslavia and its socialistic system. Nowadays they have many shortcomings, are outdated in many aspects and are in disharmony not only with the principal world classifications and the accompanying codes but also with the recent Serbian Law on Mining and Geological Exploration (2015), which has not yet been followed by a supplementary new Book of Regulations. Considering this matter, the authors have proposed a new Classification of Mineral Resources/Reserves and the linked Regulations, both included in a new Serbian Book of Regulations, based on, and harmonised with the PERC Standard (2013).
Mineral Wealth of Serbia and Its Sustainable Use
Serbia has a comparatively small territory (88,361 square kilometers) but a diverse geological composition (including various sedimentary, magmatic and metamorphic rocks, dating from Precambrian up to Quaternary) and a complex tectonic structure (occupying parts of Dinaric and Carpatho-Balkan foldbelts, Vardar Zone, Serbo-Macedonian and Pannonian median massifs, and Moesian Platform), as demonstrated in Figure 1. In the part of the lithosphere, pertinent to the present territory of Serbia, many geological processes have taken place over a wide time span, causing formation of its mineral wealth. This is concentrated in deposits which contain resources and reserves of numerous solid raw materials: metallic and nonmetallic minerals, and solid mineral fuels (coal and oil shales).
Mining of mineral wealth (from mineral deposits), as a form of land use, has been performed on the territory of Serbia in a long time-period (since prehistoric times). Contemporary mining activity should be sustainable (economically profitable, technically efficient, ecologically safe, socially beneficial etc.) and should be based on a modern, worldwide recognized classification of mineral resources/reserves and the accompanying regulations, both contained in a Book of Regulations (Code Book or Book of Standards) for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves.
Figure 1: Metallogenic map of Serbia (and surrounding areas): from the Geological Atlas of Serbia (1:2 000 000), Belgrade, 2000.
A Proposal for Harmonisation
The Classification of “Reserves” (an obsolete use of the term that embraces both reserves and resources) of solid minerals (i.e. solid mineral raw materials) and the accompanying Regulations have been in official use in Serbia since 1979, both included in The Book of Regulations on Classification and Categorization of Reserves of Solid Mineral Raw Materials and Keeping a File on Them – abbreviated as the 1979 Book of Regulations – which is a legal supplement to the former Law on the Uniform Method of Establishing, Recording and Gathering Data on Reserves of Mineral Raw Materials and Underground Water and on Their Balancing (1977) ‒ further referred to as the 1977 Law. The 1979 Book of Regulations superseded all its previous editions.
It should be mentioned that the legislation (both general and particular ‒ regarding mineral “reserves” of that time was intended for ex-Yugoslavia and its socialistic system and the Classification of “Reserves” of Solid Minerals has been solely used in the former Yugoslavia and in the later Republic of Serbia (as a remnant). It should be pointed out that the Soviet Classification, developed and officially used in the former Soviet Union (including socialist countries) and in the later Russian Federation, was taken as a model for the Yugolavian Classification of “Reserves” of Solid Minerals. Therefore, the Classifications (and the accompanying Regulations) are similar: e.g. on the basis of the Degree of Exploration (and Study) in the Yugoslavian system the “Reserves” are classified into A, B, C1, C2, D1 and D2 Categories (Table 1) and in the Soviet system into A, B, C1, C2, P1, P2 and P3 Categories. Nevertheless, the Russian National Association for Subsoil Examination (NAEN) agreed with the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) that Categories P3 and P2 correspond to Exploration Results; P1 to Inferred Resources; C2 and part of C1 to Indicated Resources; the the other part of C1, B and A Categories to Measured Resources, while Exploitation Reserves (inclusive of dilutions and losses during mining and established after consideration of the Modifying Factors) correspond to Probable and Proved Reserves (The Russian Code for the Public Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (2011) ‒ abbreviated as the NAEN Code.
However, from the present-day viewpoint, the Serbian Classification and the associated Regulations, as well as the whole embracing 1979 Book of Regulations, have many shortcomings (listed below), are outdated in many aspects and are in disharmony ‒ regarding principles, standards, terms and their definitions, used in exploration, estimation (assessment, evaluation) and classification of mineral resources and reserves ‒ not only with the contemporary world-ranked classifications and the associated codes (in the first place with the Pan-European Standard for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves ‒ abbreviated as the 2013 PERC Standard – the European member of the large CRIRSCO family) but also with the recent Serbian Law on Mining and Geological Exploration (2015) ‒ further referred to as the 2015 Law. For that reason the 2015 Law prescribes a two-year-long period (until December 8, 2017) for creating a new Book of Regulations, as its supplement, and bringing it through the legislative process (including public discussion).
A general shortcoming of the 1979 Book of Regulations is that it is too normative and detailed and leaves little room for original solutions in the planning and performing of geological exploration. The Book prescribes obligatory directives concerning exploration methodology (including type, distribution and spacing of exploratory workings and type, distribution and spacing of samples for the appropriate analyses as well as concerning classification, calculation and evaluation of “Reserves” for 43 solid mineral raw materials, divided into several groups of deposits on the basis of their complexity, which prolongs the time needed and increases costs of geological exploration.
The main particular shortcomings of the 1979 Book of Regulations, are the lack of certain contemporary worldwide accepted concepts and terms, such as Mineral Resources, Modifying Factors, Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Studies, Competent Persons and Public Reports. Although similar terms are used in the 1979 Book, such as “Reserves” ‒ Potential (of D2, D1 and C2 Categories), Established (of C1, B and A Categories) and Exploitational Reserves (of A, B and C1 Categories), Factors of Technical-Economic Evaluation, Technical-Economic Evaluation, Responsible Persons, Reports on Reserves of Mineral Raw Materials (prepared for the govermental authorities), these terms are defined and employed differently ‒ in accordance with the laws of the former Yugoslavia and its socialist system. It should be stressed that none of the Serbian Categories of Established Balance “Reserves” (of A, B and C1 Categories) correspond to the PERC Reserves (Proved and Probable) because they do not include dilution and losses that may occur during mining (exploitation). Only Exploitation Reserves are inclusive of the dilution and losses, and thus correspond to the PERC Reserves (Tables 1, 2 and 3).
On the other hand, it should be pointed out that the 1979 Book of Regulations, in spite of its shortcomings, has played a significant role, and has contributed to many achievements in exploration, estimation (assessment, evaluation), classification and keeping evidence of resources/reserves of Serbian solid mineral raw materials. These achievements should be appreciated and used regardless of legislative changes.
The aforesaid achievements are: general division of geological exploration into basic and applied exploration; performing of geological exploration in stages: prospecting, preliminary (general) exploration, detailed exploration and exploration during mining; determining the degree of exploration of a mineral deposit; the optimal percentage of different classes of mineral resources and reserves in a certain stage of geological exploration, and the legal obligation that a special kind of reports on exploration results and mineral resources/reserves should be submitted to the Serbian governmental authorities (for monitoring, taxation, the state balance (evidence) of resources/reserves etc.). In this connection two kinds of reports are distinguished: for governmental authorities and for public reporting (Tables 1 and 2).
It should be emphasized that the recently passed 2015 Serbian Law recognises the terms: Mineral Resources (Inferred, Indicated and Measured) and Mineral Reserves (Probable and Proved), Competent Persons and Public Reports. However, the 2015 Law has not yet been followed by the new supplementary Book of Regulations on Mineral Resources/Reserves which would give complete definitions and explanations. It also does not repeal the 1979 Book of Regulations but prolongs its legality for two years (up to December 8, 2017) by which time the new one should have been adopted. Therefore, a serious problem arises at the present time: the current 2015 Law and the still valid 1979 Book of Regulations are in mutual discord regarding the principles, standards, terms and their definitions, used in exploration, estimation (assessment, evaluation) and classification of mineral resources/reserves.
The authors considered this matter in several papers (Ilich et al, 2009, 2011, 2012; Vukas, 2009) and reached the conclusion that it is necessary to create a new, contemporary Serbian Classification of Resources/Reserves of Solid Minerals and the associated Regulations, both to be included in a new Book of Regulations on Reporting of Results of Geological Exploration, Resources and Reserves of Solid Mineral Raw Materials and Their Classification. Therefore the authors proposed the new Classification and the linked Regulations intended for the new Book of Regulations, which would be based on, and harmonised with the 2013 PERC Standard (which superseded all previous editions of the PERC Code).
Since the 2013 PERC Standard sets out minimum standards (with recommendations and guidelines), national Code Books, harmonised with the Standard, could be supplemented by the addition of certain matters of national interest, on the condition that they are not in discord with any part of the Standard. A good example of that is the actual Russian NAEN Code (2011), harmonised with the CRIRSCO and the PERC codes, which contains many additional Russian matters which are acceptable to the codes. Accordingly, certain matters significant to Serbia might be included in the new Book of Regulations. The authors paid attention to the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC), as one of the leading world classifications, which is also harmonised with the CRIRSCO and the PERC codes.
Since the 2015 Law prescribes creating a new Book of Regulations by December 8, 2017, the discussions and the proposals about its contents should be presented in a timely manner. Our considerations, conclusions and the resulting proposal concerning the matter are presented below. A brief comparative survey of different classifications of resources/reserves of solid minerals, both Serbian and those accepted by the leading global organizations, is displayed in Tables 1, 2 and 3. The classifications from the official 1979 Book of Regulations (Table 1) and from the proposed new Serbian book of regulations (Table 2) are presented and a synthesised map of correlation and conversion of the categories and classes of solid minerals is exhibited in Table 3.
Table 1: Main elements of the official Serbian Classification of “Reserves” (the term comprises both resources and reserves) of Solid Mineral Raw Materials: compiled from the 1979 Book of Regulations.
Table 2: Main elements of the proposed new Serbian Classification of Resources/Reserves of Solid Minerals intended for the new Serbian Book of Regulations, based on, and harmonised with the Classification contained in the 2013 PERC Standard.
Table 3: Correlation and conversion map of categories and classes of resources/reserves of solid minerals from the classifications contained in the 2009 UNFC, in the 1979 Book of Regulations and in the proposed new Serbian Book of Regulations (based on Ilich et al, 2012, supplemented by the present authors).
Benefits of Harmonisation
The proposed new Serbian Classification of Resources/Reserves of Solid Minerals and the linked Regulations, both included in the new Book of Regulations, have been created as a supplement to the 2015 Law based on, and harmonised with the 2013 PERC Standard (as the European member of the CRIRSCO family that comprises the leading world reporting codes, such as PERC, JORC, CIM, SME, SAMCODES, NAEN). The new Classification and Regulations would be beneficial to the country for the following reasons:
- The new Book of Regulations would have contemporary content and form, and would employ principles, standards, terms and their definitions, used in exploration, estimation (assessment, evaluation), classification and reporting of mineral resources/reserves that nowadays are applied in Europe and worldwide. It would replace the official 1979 Book of Regulations, which has a local character (aimed at one country), has many shortcomings, is outdated in many aspects and is in disharmony both with contemporary world reporting codes and with the recent Serbian 2015 Law.
- The data regarding Serbian mineral resources/reserves that were gathered, evaluated and classified in the period of application of the 1979 Book of Regulations could be converted into the form required by the 2013 PERC Standard, so that they would be clear to foreign experts, advisers, stockholders and stockbrokers, and other interested persons.
- It would enhance sustainable use of Serbian mineral wealth by applying European and world standards and experience concerning economically profitable, technically efficient, ecologically safe and socially beneficial mining of solid mineral raw materials from Serbian deposits as well as adequate space planning, land use, environmental protection, social care, etc., connected with the mining activity.
- It would advance co-operation between Serbia and foreign countries in the fields of exploration, estimation (assessment, evaluation), classifying and reporting of mineral resources/reserves and mining of solid mineral raw materials, performed by various institutions, companies, investors, banks and stock markets as well as by individuals.
Ilich M., Pavlovich V., Vukas R., Beljich Ch. 2009. Uporedna analiza naše i svetskih klasifikacija mineralnih rezervi i resursa i predlog za inoviranje i usklađivanje naše klasifikacije (A Comparative Analysis of Serbian and World Classifications of Mineral Reserves and Resources and Proposals for Innovation and Harmonization of Serbian Classification). Radovi VIII Međunrodne klasifikacije „Nemetali 2009“, p. 56 – 67, Banja Vrujci, Srbija.
Ilich M., Jelenkovich R., Simich V., Vukas R., Sajich D. 2011. Predlog klasifikacije mineralnih resursa i rezervi u sklopu nove zakonske regulative iz oblasti geoloških istraživanja i rudarstva u Srbiji (A Proposal of a Classification of Mineral Resources and Reserves in a New Legislation in the Field of Geological Exploration and Mining in Serbia). Radovi Međunarodnog savetovanja „Programi strategije upravljanja mineralnim resursima Republike Srbije, p. 240-254, Zlatibor, Srbija.
Ilich M, Jelenkovich R., Beljich Ch. 2012. Generalni osvrt na Pravilnik o izveštavanju o rezultatima geoloških istraživanja, resursima i rezervama čvrstih mineralnih sirovina i njihovoj klasifikaciji (A General Review of The Serbian Code for Reporting of Geological Exploration Results, Resources and Reserves of Solid Mineral Raw Materials and Their Classification). Radovi X Međunarodne konferencije „OMC 2012“, p. 79-96, Zlatibor, Srbija.
Vukas R. 2009. Približavanje podataka o rezervama čvrstih mineralnih sirovina Republike Srbije međunarodnim standardima (Harmonization of Data on Solid Mineral resources of the Republic of Serbia with International Standards), TEHNIKA, Savez Inženjera i Tehničara Srbije, Rudarstvo, geologija i metalurgija, Knjiga 5.
International Template for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (The CRIRSCO Template), 2006.
Metallogenetic Atlas of Serbia 1:2 000 000; No 14: Metallogenetic Map and Map of Ore Formations, Chief Editor: M. D. Dimitirjevich; Author: R. Jelenkovich, Belgrade, 2000.
Pan-European Standard for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Reserves (PERC Standard), 2013.
Pravilnik o klasifikaciji i kategorizaciji rezervi čvrstih mineralnih sirovina i vođenju evidenciije o njima (The Book of Regulations on Classification and Categorization of Reserves of Solid Mineral Raw Materials and Keeping a File on Them), Službeni list SFR Jugoslavije br. 53/1979.
Russian Code for the Public Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (The NAEN Code), 2011.
United Nations International Classification for Reserves/Resources: Solid Fuels and Mineral Commodities, 2009.
Zakon o jedinstvenom načinu utvrđivanja, evidentiranja i prikupljanja podataka o rezervama mineralnih sirovina i podzemnih voda i o bilansu tih rezervi (The Law on the Uniform Method of Establishing, Recording and Gathering Data on Reserves of Mineral Raw Materials and Underground Water and Their Balancing), Službeni list SFR Jugoslavije, br. 53/1977.
Zakon o rudarstvu i geološkim istraživanjima (Law on Mining and Geological Exploration), Službeni glasnik Republike Srbije br. 101/2015.
This article has been published in European Geologist Journal 41 – Sustainable land use: How geology can contribute.