1965 Volume 74 Issue 1 Pages 34-44
It is a common knowledge that the geography of mineral production has attracted small number of geographers comparing with other fields of economic geography. Even though there have been several articles dealing with mineral production, most of them have been concerned with either the distribution pattern of mining activities, or the commodity or commodity-in-area approach.
It is, however, expected that the analysis of more dynamic characters of mineral production, which are also covered by the field of mineral economics, would bring more fundamental basis to develop this field of geography. Two factors, localized occurrence and exhaustibility, are the most important characteristics of mineral production and these must be considered as basic to the study of the geography of mineral production. In other words, the former sets the distribution pattern of mineral production, and the latter and its derivatives differentiate the pattern. The problems which stem from these two factors distinguish the mineral industries from other industrial activities.
It is the purpose of the geography of mineral production to evaluate the extent and nature of the factors, to analyze the regional characteristics and to describe the areal associations brought by mining activities. In addition, some consideration should be given to the phases which the factors have brought drastic interruption in the sequent occupance of a mining region.
The geographers of mineral production should pay more attention to the importance of the dynamic characters of mineral production and their associated problems and try to consider the trends of mining activities on the basis of analysis of geographical research. The rise and fall of mineral production have a close relationship with socio-economic problems of mining regions, so that the analysis of the factors appraise more fundamental understanding of the ever-increasing importance of minerals in our economy.
The writer owes a debt of thanks to Dr. Shinzo Kiuchi and Dr. Osamu Nishikawa of the Department of Human Geography, University of Tokyo, for their stimulating criticisms and constructive advices. He is also deeply grateful to Dr. E. Willard Miller of the Department of Geography and Dr. John J. Schanz, Jr. of the Department of Mineral Economics for their patient guidances and kind suggestions while he was studying at the Pennsylvania State University.