It has been almost exactly four years since the last TLE special section on mining was published and at that time the OECD was on the brink of the worldwide “great recession” brought on by the collapse of the U.S. housing market and consequent bank insolvency such as the Lehman's bankruptcy in September of that year. Just prior to this event, energy, metals, and food commodities had spiked to their highest relative price since the late 1970s (Figure 1).

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