Mineral Resources in 2007
We are pleased to present the first edition of the bulletin MINERAL RESOURCES in English. The bulletin has been well received in the Slovenian language by the interested public in the past three years. Few printed copies of earlier editions remain; however, past issues are available in electronic format at http://www.geo-zs.si.
The recent past has been very dynamic for the mining sector. We would like to briefly share some interesting events that have impacted the mining sector in Slovenia.
In past few years we have observed rapid growth in demand for raw materials and food worldwide, particularly for energy resources and metals. The energy sector was in the news regularly, almost daily, with reports of changing oil availability and price. Metal prices are higher than a year ago, although this fact has received less coverage by the press. The increase in prices of nonmetals and mineral resources for construction was largely unreported. The reasons for the increase in prices go beyond high demand to include a lack of production capacity and insufficient or unsuccessful exploration for new resources to replace those being depleted. High demand is being driven by the needs of large countries, such as China, India, Russia and Brazil, which require resources to support their high economic growth in recent years. Inadequate capacity and too little research are the results of insufficient investment in the recent past, when the prices of raw materials were lower and therefore interest in investing in their development was also at a low.
At the level of the European Commission, a lively public debate was under way during the second half of 2007 and the first half of 2008 regarding the formulation of a Communication on European policy in the area of mineral resources. Within this framework we also prepared a TAIEX workshop in Slovenia with the help of the Commission on the theme of the flow of knowledge within the field of mineral resources. In the first half of 2008 the European Technological Platform on the theme of sustainable mineral resources (ETP Sustainable Mineral Resources) was officially recognized, which rounded off several years of effort by the sector for renewed and greater participation of the sector in the sphere of research, especially the 7th Framework Programme. The efforts from two years prior were also commended, when the Slovenian research, education and production spheres of mining supported the endeavour of writing in the form of an acknowledgement of the platform (2006 Bulletin).
At the close of this foreword, on behalf of the editors, I would like to thank the contributing authors and all the others who helped in the publishing of this edition of the bulletin, and to extend an invitation to our readers to offer critical feedback.
Ljubljana, August 2008
Dr. Slavko V. Šolar, editor