Special thanks and credits are extended to Bill Clement and Colin Farquharson for their contributions in reviewing the papers in this special section.

Who needs minerals? Actually, we all do. Our survival and existence depend largely on them. Mining is one of the earliest industries in which humans learned how to utilize the earth's natural resources to improve their lives. It probably began with the mining and mixing of sand and clay for making bricks, wood, and coal for heating, metallurgy for making utensils, coinage, and weaponry, and evolved to mining of gemstones for ornamental and industrial purposes.

A statistic...

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