The demand for resources is on a growth trend. It is likely that future supply will be dominated by primary raw materials and complemented by an increasing share of secondary raw materials. The utilization of second-ary raw materials conserves geogenic deposits and their production is of-ten less energy intensive than primary raw material production. Utilizing secondary raw materials effectively requires knowledge about the availa-bility under varying socioeconomic and political conditions. This knowledge is partly available but it is not grounded on a standard frame-work. This impedes comparisons across commodities and time.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) through the Expert Group on Resource Classification (EGRC) has now filled this gap by extending the application of the United Nations Framework Classifica-tion for Resources (UNFC) to anthropogenic resources. New specifica-tions have been developed that define the terminology and principles for categorizing anthropogenic material quantities at the source of supply. The categorization respects three key criteria. First, the level of confi-dence on the knowledge about the anthropogenic resource and its re-trievable quantities, second, the project status and feasibility, and third, the socioeconomic viability.
Classifying anthropogenic resources based on the UNFC provides coun-tries, companies, financial institutions and other stakeholders information for sustainable development of anthropogenic resource endowments. It facilitates the development of recovery projects in public-private partner-ships where politics and administration set the legal and financial bounda-ry conditions and the industry provides the capabilities for implementing recovery projects. It also facilitates the planning of national resource sup-ply with consideration of primary and secondary raw materials.