Ore mineralogy is an important subject at the crossroads of mineralogy, ore deposit geology, and extractive metallurgy. Knowledge of ore mineralogy is critical in the economic evaluation of mineral deposits, mineral processing, the study of ore deposits with respect to how they formed and, increasingly, in environmental studies. The enormous opportunities offered by new and rapidly developing instrumental techniques allow today's ore mineralogist to measure the physical and chemical character of minerals at much smaller scales, more rapidly, and with far greater accuracy and precision than was possible a generation ago. This often necessitates a level of scientific knowledge, and also an interdisciplinary understanding, far beyond that of the traditional microscope-based approach. Despite the huge potential of ore mineralogy, too little value is currently attached to the subject, especially with respect to teaching the subject to the scientists of tomorrow.
The Commission on Ore Mineralogy of the International Mineralogical Association was set up in 1962 to serve the interests of ore mineralogists in universities, research institutions and the minerals industry across the world. Our goals are to promote ore mineralogy within the scientific community, to train fellow members in investigative skills through a series of short courses, and to support the activities of other IMA commissions by providing advice and expert opinion on issues related to our fields of research. Through its regular short courses, regional meetings, scientific sessions, other symposia and field excursions, as well as its website, COM offers a platform to ore mineralogists to share their knowledge with others, exchange information, and to speak with a collective voice on issues that affect our branch of science. As one of the commissions of IMA, the COM supports the goals of international cooperation and collaborative research in pure and applied mineralogy.