Mineral raw materials by their geological origin and purpose can be divided into fuel, ore, chemical, construction and technical. According to the degree of exploration, mineral reserves are divided into four categories — explored (industrial) — A, B and C1 and previously estimated C2. Category A (reliable reserves) includes in detail explored and studied reserves with accurate determination of the boundaries of mineral bodies, the reserves of this category are already under industrial development, and the permissible error in the assessment of reserves is up to 10% of their volume. The category B includes stocks that are explored and studied in detail, providing clarification of the main features of the conditions of occurrence, but without an accurate reflection of the spatial position of each type, and the reserves of this category are either not yet developed or are in the initial stage of development, and the permissible error in the assessment does not exceed 15%. Category C1 includes stocks that are either under exploration or under which exploration has been carried out and their partial valuation has been carried out, and the permissible error in the valuation of these stocks should not exceed 25 %. Reserves of category C2 (potential) belong to preliminary estimated when borders of fields are not defined, carrying out prospecting works is only planned, and the error in estimates of volume of stocks can reach 50%.
The use of resource-saving technologies in the processing of mineral raw materials is one of the most urgent tasks. An effective way to reduce waste is their recycling, for which new technologies are being created. Priority value belongs to processing of mineral raw materials on the basis of modern methods of enrichment, hydro - and pyro metallurgy, involvement in processing of resources of a technogenic origin. According to the Center for strategic studies, Moscow State Mining University, Russia's share in world production of mineral raw materials close to 10 %. Russia has 30% of the world's mineral resources. In the domestic mining industry extensive experience in the integrated use of mineral resources has accumulated. Non-ferrous metallurgy enterprises have considerable experience in complex use of raw materials. Almost half of the 70 chemical elements, produced at non-ferrous metallurgy enterprises, are extracted along the way: silver, bismuth, platinum, gold, sulfur, zinc, lead, copper, etc., which is almost a third of the total cost of the products. The total economic impact of complex processing of mineral raw materials is estimated at several tens of billions of rubles. According to experts, the mobilization of existing reserves at relatively low labor and capital costs will increase the potential of extractive industries by more than 25%.
The most part of extracted mineral raw material fed to the enrichment. Existing technologies of extraction and primary processing of mineral raw materials allow using only about 5-8% of the mineral mass extracted from the subsoil. The generated waste becomes one of the most significant factors of environmental changes. Upon receipt of 1 ton of metal contained in the enrichment products, from 30 to 100 tons of so-called "tails" are formed, from 5 to 8% of the cost of the products is spent on their removal and storage. Nowadays no more than 20% of non-metallic rocks extracted from the subsoil and about 10% of enrichment wastes are involved in subsequent production. In the volume indicators in ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, the waste of only mining production in the form of hard rocks is more than 210, and the «tails» of enrichment — 140 million m3/year. In total, the volume of annually stored waste in all mining industries reaches several billion cubic meters.