INTERNAL USE Backgrounder Definitions When communicating about the NPRI with media and stakeholders it is important to use straightforward, consistent language. The following are simple definitions of industry terms that will assist in your communications efforts. With minor modifications, these definitions could be provided to media as a backgrounder. Mineral: a naturally occurring solid formed through a geological process. Unlike rock, minerals always have a set chemical composition, structure and physical properties. An estimated 4,000 minerals have been identified around the world. Element: is a pure chemical substance composed of atoms with the same number of protons. Common elements include: copper, silver, gold, hydrogen, etc. When elements are combined they produce a compound. For example, sodium and chloride combined produce salt. In total, 118 elements have been observed as of March 2010, of which 94 occur naturally on earth. Compound: is created when two or more elements combine. These elements can be separated by a chemical reaction. For example, ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. All compounds will separate or dissolve if enough heat is applied. Rock: a naturally occurring solid made up of minerals. Rocks are typically made of different minerals and organic material like fossils. They do not have a set form or chemical structure. Rocks from which minerals are mined for economic purposes are referred to as ore. Ore: type of rock that includes minerals, like metals extracted in mining. Waste Rock: the rock that remains after the desired minerals have been extracted. Often removed during surface mining, waste rock is typically not contaminated with any kind of harmful or dangerous components and is mostly considered harmless. Tailings: are the materials that remain after separating the valuable minerals from the ore. The extraction of the minerals either takes place using water and gravity or by grinding the rock into small particles and separating the rock from the minerals using chemicals. When this process is complete it leaves fine pieces of rock, from the size of a grain of sand to powder. Tailings may contain trace quantities of metals found in the host ore, and they may contain added compounds used to extract the mineral.