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UNFC – a tool the scientific community should be aware of

Fieldwork, sampling and analysis are tasks that most geoscientists enjoy, whether they are aspiring young scientists or experienced field geologists. Some of the activities arouse curious interest others are viewed with scepticism. Yet, what they all have in common is that good communication is part of successful work. Hence, an open and transparent discourse with non-scientists, is of importance as it is for mutual communication among fellow scientists, among and across disciplines.

Natural resources are a valuable asset, so the possibilities, risks, opportunities and challenges associated with projects to explore and use them should be made equally known to all interested parties. The United Nations has developed a tool (UNFC) that can help with communication in order to achieve mutual understanding in the context of resource management.

Furthermore, in its draft legislation on critical raw materials (CRM), the European Commission has proposed to use the UNFC as a mandatory tool in reporting on mineral resources in the EU and in European and national research programmes. EIT Raw Materials - as one of Europes´ largest project promoters - is already encouraged to assess the proposals against the UNFC concept.

Due to the worldwide high demand for CRM, increased exploration activities currently also stepped up in Germany. These projects are at different stages of exploration and development maturity. A unified classification via UNFC could help to support the regional sustainable raw material supply.

This contribution aims to raise awareness of the UNFC concept and improve understanding of its application.


Antje Wittenberg1, Sören Henning1, Jochen Kolb2
1Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Germany; 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
GeoBerlin 2023