Abstract

Our civilization is based on metals, among other life supports. The existing ore deposits are becoming rapidly depleted by almost exponentially increasing demand and production and major new ore discoveries are needed. Mineral exploration is supported by modern tools and scientific ideas, but geological characteristics of orebodies and their rock associations have still to be visualized.The time-tested exploration search for (near)-analogs of important model deposits is still the basic approach and it will be around for a long time, even as the future ores will be found under increasingly thick cover. The skills of visual recognition of geological features indicative of ore presence can best be gained in the field, but the second best experience comes from examination and study of the real geological materials assembled in systematically organized geological sample sets. The Lithotheque knowledge system of recording and interpreting mineral deposits is based on sets of miniaturized rock/ore samples permanently attached to rigid plates and stored like books for instant access. It has been designed to bridge the gap between written text or a lecture and a field visit with minimum demand on space and servicing. The sample images and supplementary materials are transmitted via internet. The existing Data Metallogenica and Lithotheque systems, now based in Australia, could be adopted internationally and established in a number of regional centers contributing local knowledge to global metallogeny and exchanging material. This would enhance the practical component of mineral resources education and ore finding.

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