Mineral exploration is the first stage of wealth creation from mining (Fig. 3.1; Agricola, 1556 [Box 4.2]; Porter, 1985).
Figure 3.1

Exploration and mining started in the Neolithic, preceding herding and agriculture. At first, native metals such as gold and copper were mined but the discovery of how to recover metals by smelting metal oxides that probably occurred at least 7,000 years ago (Section 4) increased ancient exploration targets. In the past a prospector with a good eye identified an area of anomalous metal concentration or altered outcrops to explore, but now earth scientists using...

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