Forty years of COM

The International Mineralogical Association’s Commission on Ore Mineralogy (COM) was formed at the 1962 meeting of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) in Washington D.C., United States. The first formal meeting of COM, (the IMA Commission on Ore Microscopy until 1986), was in New Delhi, India, December 1964 during the 22nd International Geological Congress (IGC). Since then, the commission has met during the quadrennial meetings of the IMA, has organised regional conferences, conference sessions at IMA and IGC meetings, workshops and short courses worldwide. Starting in 1990, under the inspiring leadership of past-Chairman Louis Cabri, COM short courses on aspects of ore mineralogy began to be organised on a regular basis. Courses have been organised in Ottawa, Canada (1990), Budapest, Hungary (1995), Porto, Portugal (1997), Ottawa, Canada (1998), Pretoria, South Africa (1999) and Espoo, Finland (2000). The COM has no formal membership but serves the interests of several hundred ore mineralogists worldwide through more than 25 national representatives in countries on all continents.

One of the major achievements of COM is the collection, evaluation and publication of authoritative volumes on quantitative data for ore minerals (e.g. The IMA/COM Quantitative Data File, edited by Norman Henry 1977, and the Second and Third issues edited by Alan Criddle and Chris Stanley in 1986 and 1993). To accompany the 1990 COM Short Course the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) published Course Notes in their Short Course Series (volume 17), with John Jambor and David Vaughan as editors. More recently, an entirely new set of notes were compiled and edited for the COM by Louis Cabri and David Vaughan. The notes, by now 421 pages in total, were also published by the MAC in 1998, as volume 27 of their Short Course Series ('Modern Approaches to Ore and Environmental Mineralogy') to accompany the second Ottawa short course. These two volumes brought together and critically reviewed the long-established qualitative methods of ore microscopy and the modern approach to quantitative ore microscopy, together with advanced micro-beam and spectroscopic methods of analysis. At the Porto Short Course in 1995, recent developments in environmental mineralogy and quantitative image analysis were also incorporated. The course in Ottawa in1998, whilst stressing the fundamental importance of ore microscopy, took advantage of the abundance of specialised instruments available for demonstration in Ottawa and Guelph. The lecturers at these courses, and the authors of the accompanying volume, were all leading experts in their fields and are known throughout the world for their contributions to science. The most recent COM Short course in Espoo, Finland, brought together more than 70 participants in a six-day programme of lectures, microscopic exercises, demonstrations of research methods and available mineralogical software and visits to different research laboratories, a mini-symposium, field trips and workshops on platinum group minerals and image analysis.

COM Chairmen 1962- COM Short courses
1962-1970 Wilhelm Uytenbogaardt 1990 Ottawa (organised by Donald Harris)
1970-1978 Stanley H.U. Bowie 1995 Budapest (organised by Tamas Weiszberg)
1978-1982 George Desborough 1997 Porto (organised by Orlando Gaspar)
1982-1986 Eugen Stumpfl 1998 Ottawa (organised by Louis Cabri)
1986-1990 Bernard Cervelle 1999 Pretoria (organised by Thinus Cloethe)
1990-1994 David Vaughan 2000 Espoo (organised by Kari Kojonen)
1994-1998 Louis Cabri  
1998-2002 Alan Criddle  
2002-2006 Roland Merkle
2006-2010 Nigel Cook 
2010-2014 Chris Stanley