May 2013


Introducing the CIM Definition Standards Consultation project

By Paul Bankes

Since it was created in August 2000, the CIM Standing Committee on Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource Definitions has maintained all of the CIM definitions referenced by National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

The committee represents CIM on the Committee for Mineral Reserve International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO). With more international exposure, CRIRSCO members have agreed, as much as possible, to standardize the organization’s 15 core definitions and to have them adopted by all CRIRSCO member codes and standards. However, a need for additional national codes or guidance for each definition was recognized.

Summary of key changes

In most cases, the proposed changes recommended by the committee are restricted to minor revisions in wording and syntax to harmonize Canadian definitions with those of other CRIRSCO members.

This section describes significant changes introduced by the committee to reflect industry, Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and international requests for clarification and guidance.

Mineral Resource: The 2005 and 2010 CIM Definition for Mineral Resource has historically differed from other CRIRSCO members due to two key phrases: “solid material” and “reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction.”

The Canadian definition has always included the word “solid” that was not included by other CRIRSCO member codes. In 2012, all CRISCO members agreed to include the phrase “solid material” in their respective codes.

In a similar fashion, the CIM definition has historically excluded the word “eventual,” which has been adopted by all other CRIRSCO members. The committee has added the word “eventual” to the Canadian definition and provided guidance to clarify its meaning.

Inferred Mineral Resource: Since inception in 2001, NI 43-101 has allowed Inferred Mineral Resources to be included in a Preliminary Assessment (PA). On June 30, 2011, CSA changed the name of a PA to a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA). PEA allows Inferred Mineral Resources to be included in a mine plan, production schedule and financial analysis. However, CSA has extended the prohibition against disclosing the results of a prefeasibility study, a feasibility study, or life of mine plan at a developed mine, which includes Inferred Mineral Resources in the mine plan, production schedule and financial analysis. While CSA’s decision did not materially impact the previous CIM definition, it does contradict the 2005 and 2010 CIM definition guidance that minimized the confidence associated with an Inferred Mineral Resource and that discouraged the use of Inferred Mineral Resources to “evaluate economic validity worthy of public disclosure.”

The committee has added the phrase, “It is reasonably expected that the majority of Inferred Mineral Resources could be upgraded to Indicated Mineral Resources with continued exploration” to the definition, and has modified the definition guidance to include: “Inferred mineral resources can only be used in economic studies as provided under NI 43-101.” The committee has provided additional guidance to the Qualified Person when classifying Inferred Resources.

Mineral Reserves: In 2012, the United Nations Expert Group on Resource Classification noted the CRIRSCO template and member definitions did not identify the “reference point” where a Mineral Reserve is reported. This issue is particularly important when Mineral Reserves are reported as a product, such as clean coal, rather than as feed to a plant or concentrator. The following text has been included in the CRIRSCO and CIM definition: “…the reference point at which Mineral Reserves are defined, usually the point where the ore is delivered to the processing plant, must be stated. It is important that, in all situations where the reference point is different, such as for a saleable product, a clarifying statement is included…”

Feasibility Study: In 2010, CIM added a definition for feasibility study to the CIM Definition Standards. CIM has since received several notifications of industry concerns that the term “proponent” within the definition was not adequately defined. The committee has added the following paragraph to the proposed definition:

“The term proponent captures issuers who may finance a project without using traditional financial institutions. In these cases, the technical and economic confidence of the Feasibility Study is equivalent to that required by a financial institution.”

Call for comments

The standing committee has begun a 90-day consultation period (ending August 2) with industry and CIM members. To participate, please read the definitions displayed online ( and compare the proposed changes to the current definitions. Leave a comment if you feel inclined, and it will be forwarded to our moderator, who will review the contents, strip out your personal information and post the suggestion online. The committee will request CIM council approval of final definitions in late-2013.

Paul Bankes is a geologist with over 30 years of domestic and international experience in project development, mine operations, geostatistics, mine design and business development. He chairs the CIM Standing Committee on Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource Definitions and represents CIM on CRIRSCO and on the United Nations Experts Committee on Resource Classification.

Post a comment


PDF Version