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Mineral Resources Economics and the Environment

fsgjkWhile it superficially it has the look and heft of a standard student text, this book provides rather more engaging content and topical diversity than might be expected.  It covers topics across the full range of its title, taking the reader on a journey from mineral resource formation and geochemistry, exploration and production to the economic and legal settings in which the minerals industry operates.  As an updated and revised edition, it includes additional contemporary context to issues discussed, and provides some timely overviews of relatively recent developments in mineral demand, extraction and applications.

One area in which this text excels is in providing a lot more practical and applied content (and context, for that matter) than many standard textbooks.  Frequent asides in text-boxes provide particularly useful expansions and insights into the more contemporary social, economic and political challenges surrounding mineral resources - particularly in the context of sustainability and sometimes playfully, as in ‘The Global Footprint of a Smartphone’. 

From geochemical reservoirs and reserve estimates to the assessment and treatment of pollution; from processing to mineral law and land-access rights, the introductory materials cover a truly massive swathe of concerns.  For mineral resources themselves, the authors have chosen to disaggregate those covered into ‘groups’: such as energy, technology elements, agricultural, and construction and industrial minerals, which all helps draw out the relevance of each in the context of economic, environmental and social challenges.  It also provides a contextual framework in which to consider minerals in society, aside from their more esoteric natures as Earth materials. 

As is often the case, broad topical coverage takes place at the expense of significant depth; however this large and comprehensive text is useful as a basic, core textbook for college, undergraduate and masters level students, and a worthwhile advanced reference to have to hand.  It covers a lot of basic background information that may be of benefit to a non-specialist audience, but which the more experienced reader may feel free to ‘take as read’.  This is a collection of interesting material, well illustrated with images and examples and presented in logically and consistently.  Colour plates are limited, but are very helpful in supporting and enriching the text, as are the extensive appendices and glossaries. 

Reviewed by Carla Leanne Washbourne

MINERAL RESOURCES, ECONOMICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT by STEPHEN E KESSLER AND ADAM C SIMON, 2015.  Published by Cambridge University Press 446pp (hbk) ISBN: 9781316371589 W: