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Most geologic materials may be usable resources in some form and at some time, whether it be for general land fill and aggregate, beach replenishment, construction material, or as a source of metals and fuels. Thus, most natural materials occurring within the Atlantic continental margin are resources, defined as “materials, including those only surmised to exist, that have present or anticipated future value” (U.S.G.S., 1980). Whether a resource becomes a reserve or not (an economically recoverable commodity) depends upon the properties and economic values of that material, which are determined by the following factors:

(a) availability, concentration, and occurrence of the material;

(b) methods of recovering and processing the commodity;

(c) transportation costs of ore and beneficiated products; and

(d) environmental setting and costs of permitting and mitigation. Also, the economics of a given mineral resource change dramatically in response to new technological advances, discoveries of new deposits, or as industrial and social demands change through time. An increasingly critical component associated with the economics for development of any mineral commodity, is a good geologic knowledge of the resource base.

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