Abstract

During the past half-century geology has gained acceptance as a valuable if not indispensable aid in finding and developing orebodies, thanks to improved methods of applying the science as well as to gratifying advances in the science itself. Yet there remain conspicuous gaps in our knowledge even of such fundamental questions as where metals come from and how they got to their site of deposition to form orebodies. Thus two such contrasting processes as the orthodox theory of hydrothermal solutions and the hypothesis of lateral secretion (lately resurrected in a new guise invoking long-range diffusion) can both have serious advocates only because of a lack of factual knowledge of the behavior of metals and other substances at moderately high temperatures and pressures, knowledge that could be made available through adequate research.This is but one example of the kind of background knowledge essential to the development of truly enlightened methods of orefinding but unlikely to be available in time to be useful in replenishing our dwindling ore reserves unless research is intensified beyond the rate of the past half-century.Mining companies, like other progressive corporations, would undoubtedly sponsor additional research if convinced of its ultimate benefit to the industry but geologists will have to point the way.

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