In extractive industries, recovery is the proportion of available product actually successfully removed .

In the mining industry, recovery is the amount of metal extracted from ore as a percentage of the actual metal content. The metal content of the ore is measured by ore grade. In the oil industry it is the proportion of oil or gas in the ground that is actually taken out.

Recovery clearly has a significant impact on profitability. An increase in recovery generally reduces cash cost in mining. This is a number that is less directly important to investors than cash cost and is not as frequently disclosed, so investors in this sector are not likely to look at this number unless doing fairly detailed analysis.

It is somewhat more likely to be looked at by investors in oil.

Improved recovery

Improved oil recovery, also known as enhanced oil recovery (abbreviated to EOR) or tertiary oil recovery, is the use of sophisticated techniques to recover oil (or gas) that is not recoverable though simple drilling and pumping, or well established secondary methods such as flooding wells with water.

Improved oil recovery methods include injecting chemicals or gas under pressure, and heating oil to reduce its viscosity (making it easier to pump).

Whether, and what, improved recovery techniques are used in a particular case depends on the well in question, and on whether the current oil price makes it worth using enhanced methods.