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UNFC aids assessment and sustainable production of materials from energy basins

About 3.5 billion people have no reliable access to electricity. As the global population grows from the current 7 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050, providing sustainable energy for all is becoming increasingly challenging. In many parts of the world key energy materials occur together in intimate association. Central Asian energy basins, extending from Uzbekistan to Mongolia, are ideal examples of where coal, oil and gas, uranium and renewable energy occur in great abundance, close to each other.

The management and production of various materials from these basins could be carried out sustainably and in an environmentally friendly manner if a unified and comprehensive approach could be adopted. This is one of the main messages coming out of the  “Interregional Workshop on Uranium, Coal, Oil and Gas classification: Towards better understanding of energetic basins and application of UNFC-2009” being held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from 16-19 August. Over 100 participants from more than 30 countries from all continents are debating the advantages of the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC-2009).


In opening the workshop yesterday, H.E. Khookhor Badamsuren, Vice Minister, Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry of Mongolia stated “Mongolia has significant resources of coal, oil, gas and uranium. The mineral and oil & gas industries are the backbone of the economy contributing 17% to GDP and representing 80% of Mongolia’s total exports”.

Sustainable development of these resources requires a proper classification, assessment and management that clearly indicates the developmental status of the projects and offers transparent reporting. Participants at the workshop observed that UNFC-2009 provides a coherent system to manage resources, a common language for communications and information sharing, and a precise tool for assessment of social and environmental impacts. The case studies on application of UNFC-2009 to selected deposits in Argentina, China, Egypt, Mongolia, and Paraguay presented by participants and the discussions on the best practices for evaluation of the resources have highlighted the advantages of adopting a common global classification system such as UNFC-2009. Companies in extractive industries gain from the use of UNFC-2009 in assessment of their total mineral inventory. Extractive industries are the backbone of economy in many countries.

However, many countries face key challenges in the management of mineral and petroleum resources. “Increasing competencies in proper classification of resources and their management is important for Mongolia,” said Mr. Baatartsogt Baldorj, Director of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia. “We will organize a national team that will look into application of UNFC-2009 for all resources, including petroleum. The team will also work on bridging the existing Mongolian systems for minerals and petroleum to UNFC-2009”, he added. This is expected to be complementary to and extending the reach of the newly adopted Mongolian Reporting Code for minerals, which is for public reporting by companies operating in Mongolia. The Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia was established this month following the merging of two separate Agencies.

The Workshop is organized jointly by UNECE, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry of Mongolia.

For further information contact Charlotte Griffiths, UNECE Sustainable Energy Division (reserves.energy@unece.org / tel: +41 22 917 1988). For information on UNFC-2009 visit http://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html.