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Education in mineral economics is important to the practicing geologist in his professional career. Individuals who deal with the discovery, extraction, and use of mineral resources recognize that much of what they are able to accomplish relies on "economics." Because the economic factor has such tremendous leverage, there is always a compulsion to seek more education and understanding of economics.
People who deal with mineral economics fall into 2 categories: (1) practitioners who are engaged in some economic activity and use economic data and analysis in making decisions related to their jobs, and (2) social scientists who are concerned only with economic concepts and tools. The practicing geologist, the exploration planners, and mineral company executives fall in the former category. Their need is for economic data and economic evaluation.
There are 3 stages in the exploration and development process, each with its own peculiar needs for economic information and valuation. These are: (1) establishing an exploration plan with appropriate guidelines; (2) conducting the field investigation and appraising the data obtained; and (3) making a decision on how to proceed in light of the economic and geologic information on hand.
The undergraduate in geology preparing for a career in mineral exploration has little time or need for much emphasis on traditional economics in his program. However, some university course work introducing him to the economics of nonrenewable resources, evaluation concepts and methodology, and commodity analysis is of value.
Much of the geologist's economics education must be derived from experience, company training, post-graduate college courses, and the technical programs of his professional societies. The geologic societies should make their contribution through fostering the development of improved evaluation methodology, maintaining and advancing the analytic competence of their members, and keeping members informed of national goals and priorities in mineral resource development.
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