‘If it cannot be grown, it must be mined’ (Unknown) is a truism that captures the importance of mining in our evolution and its ongoing need as civilisation moves ever forward. Our civilisation has been defined by mining:

Stone Age – pre 4000 BC

Bronze Age – 4000 BC to 1500 BC

Iron Age – 1500 BC to about 1800 AD

Steel Age – 1800 to about 1945

Nuclear Age – post 1945.

Figure 1.1 shows our dependence on minerals in the United States. It is still valid qualitatively and is globally correct.