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Despite increasing metal production over the last 50 years, metals reserves have remained largely unchanged.

Classification of Metals

Classification of Metals

Source: Kernot, 2006


  • Ferrous metals are defined as metals that contain Iron and are magnetic. 
  • Non Ferrous Metals are broken down into three basic categories, precious metals, base metals and minor metals.
  • Precious metals are relatively rare and are widely traded and are thought of as secure havens in times of war and financial crisis.
  • The base metals have a wide range of applications throughout industry and are commonly referred to as industrial metals.
  • The minor metals are produced very often both as by-products of the extraction of the major metals or are required for specific applications and are therefore produced sometimes in small quantities from primary deposits.