Resource Geology deals with the distribution, characteristics, and formation (genesis) of mineral resources (geogene raw materials) within and on the Earth's crust and the prospection and exploration for, evaluation of, and production from mineral resources in terms of a sustainable development (United Nations Agenda 2030).
Geogene raw materials are subdivided into two main categories: Mineral Raw Materials (metal-bearing ores, construction materials like gravels and sands, industrial minerals) and Energy Resources (fossil fuels or hydrocarbons, nuclear energy i.e. uranium, geothermal energy). These natural resources are non-renewable, i.e. they do not regenerate in for humans overseeable time periods (an exception is geothermal energy, which is considered sustainable).
Because of the variable characteristics of mineral resources (distribution, geometry, mineralogy, physical, chemical, and mining properties) and utilization of geogene raw materials, different methods of investigation depending on the specific purpose, and interdisciplinary collaborations are required.
The study of Resource Geology covers two main subjects: Mineral Deposit Geology or Mineral Deposit Research and Mineral Economics. Mineral Deposit Research deals with the physical, mineralogical-petrographical and geochemical characteristics, as well as with the geotectonic/regional geological context of mineral occurrences, among others. The main focus lies in the question of their genesis. Models are established and key criteria identified, which enable evaluations of regional mineral deposit potentials and successful mineral exploration.
Mineral Economics examines geological (prospection, exploration), economic (evaluation, markets), technical (mining, benefication), social (relocation, acceptance, employment, qualification), ecological (environmental compatibility), and aspects of regional development (infrastructure, regional economic implications) related to mineral production. It includes the investigation of material cycles and therefore also looks at substitution and recycling of raw materials.
The findings from all areas of Resource Geology are of high relevance for a natural resource management, the development and utilization of mineral resources (taking public interests and environmental protection into account), and raw material supplies. They contribute to secure the functioning of the worlds economies.