Skip to main content

Economic Geology: Principles and Practice

Economic Geology: Principles and Practice

Walter L. Pohl

ISBN: 978-1-444-39487-0

May 2011, Wiley-Blackwell

680 pages


Humanity’s ever-increasing hunger for mineral raw materials, caused by a growing global population and ever   increasing standards of living,  has resulted in  economic geology becoming a subject of urgent importance.

This book provides a broad panorama of mineral deposits, covering their origin and geological characteristics, the principles of the search for ores and minerals, and the investigation of newly found deposits. Practical and environmental issues that arise during the life cycle of a mine and after its closure are addressed, with an emphasis on sustainable and "green" mining.

The central scientific theme of the book is to place the extraordinary variability of mineral deposits in the frame of fundamental geological processes.

The book is written for earth science students and practicing geologists worldwide. Professionals in administration, resource development, mining, mine reclamation, metallurgy, and mineral economics will also find the text valuable.

Economic Geology is a fully revised translation of the the fifth edition of the German language text Mineralische und Energie-Rohstoffe.

Additional resources for this book can be found at:

The author's website can be found at:

Related Resources


Contact your Rep for all inquiries



What are ore deposits?

Mining in the stress field between society and environment.

The mineral resources conundrum.

Part I Metalliferous Ore Deposits.

1 Geological ore formation process systems (metallogenesis).


1.1 Magmatic Ore Formation Systems.

1.2 Supergene Ore Formation Systems.

1.3 Sedimentary Ore Formation Systems.

1.4 Diagenetic Ore Formation Systems.

1.5 Metamorphic and Metamorphosed Ore Deposits.

1.6 Metamorphogenic Ore Formation Systems.

1.7 Metallogeny – Ore Deposit Formation in Space and Time.

1.8 Genetic Classification of Ore and Mineral Deposits.

1.9 Summary and Further Reading.

2 Economic geology of metals.


2.1 The Iron and Steel Metals.

2.2 Base Metals.

2.3 Precious Metals.

2.4 Light Metals.

2.5 Minor and Speciality Metals.

2.6 Summary and Further Reading.

Part II Non-Metallic Minerals and Rocks.

3 Industrial minerals, earths and rocks.


3.1 Andalusite, Kyanite and Sillimanite.

3.2 Asbestos.

3.3 Barite and Celestite.

3.4 Bentonite (Smectite Rocks).

3.5 Boron.

3.6 Carbonate Rocks: Limestone, Calcite Marble, Marlstone, Dolomite.

3.7 Clay and Clay Rocks.

3.8 Diamond.

3.9 Diatomite and Tripoli.

3.10 Feldspar.

3.11 Fluorite.

3.12 Graphite.

3.12.1 Graphite deposit types.

3.13 Gypsum and Anhydrite.

3.14 Kaolin.

3.15 Magnesite.

3.16 Mica (Muscovite, Phlogopite, Vermiculite).

3.17 Olivine.

3.18 Phosphates.

3.19 Quartz and Silicon.

3.20 Quartzite.

3.21 Quartz Sand and Gravel.

3.22 Sodium Carbonate, Sulfate and Alum.

3.23 Sulphur.

3.24 Talc and Pyrophyllite.

3.25 Volcaniclastic Rocks.

3.26 Wollastonite.

3.27 Zeolites.

3.28 Summary and Further Reading.

4 Salt deposits (evaporites).


4.1 Salt Minerals and Salt Rocks.

4.2 The Formation of Salt Deposits.

4.3 Post-Depositional Fate of Salt Rocks.

4.4 From Exploration to Salt Mining.

4.5 Summary and Further Reading.

Part III The Practice of Economic Geology.

5 Geological concepts and methods in the mining cycle: exploration, exploitation and closure of mines.


5.1 Economic Considerations.

5.2 The Search for Mineral Deposits (Exploration).

5.3 Development and Valuation of Mineral Deposits.

5.4 Mining and the Environment.

5.5 Deep Geological Disposal of Dangerous Waste.

5.6 Summary and Further Reading.

Part IV Fossil Energy Raw Materials -- Coal, Oil and Gas.

6 Coal.


6.1 The Substance of Coal.

6.2 Peat Formation and Coal Deposits.

6.3 The Coalification Process.

6.4 Post-Depositional Changes of Coal Seams.

6.5 Applications of Coal Geology.

6.6 Summary and Further Reading.

7 Petroleum and natural gas deposits.


7.1 Species of Natural Bitumens, Gas and Kerogen, and their Properties.

7.2 The Origin of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

7.3 Formation of Petroleum and Natural Gas Deposits.

7.4 Exploring for Petroleum and Natural Gas Deposits.

7.5 The Exploitation of Petroleum and Natural Gas Deposits.

7.6 Tar Sand, Asphalt, Pyrobitumen and Shungite.

7.7 Oil Shales.

7.8 Environmental Aspects of Oil and Gas Production.

7.9 Summary and Further Reading.




"The book provides an extensive overview of natural resources and societal issues associated with extracting raw materials." (Economic Geology, August 2013)

"It is difficult to specify the readership that would benefit most from this book, but advanced students of economic geology, mining engineering and environmental studies would certainly find much of interest by perusal of selected sections. Practitioners would also gain insights into fields well beyond their specialities, which was certainly the case with this reviewer. Economic Geology: Principles and Practice merits a place on the shelves of all university and geological society libraries.” (Miner Deposita, 2011)

Tony Waltham writes, "For an impressive overview of a huge subject, this book must take some beating." (Geology Today, 1 March 2012)

"Overall, an excellent resource for earth science and geology students enrolled in mineral exploration and/or general mining and reclamation programs; also very useful to practicing economic geologists/professionals involved in mining, mine reclamation, and environmental studies. Summing Up: Highly recommend." (Choice, 1 January 2012)

"I highly recommend the landmark text book Economic Geology: Principles and Practice by Walter L. Pohl, to any students, professional geologists and others in the related industries, and anyone interested in mineral ores, and in the environmental aspects of economic geology. This book is especially important is a time of escalating demand for minerals and ores of all types, in a world facing ever increasing population and environmental and sustainability pressures." (Blog Business World, 10 October 2011)