Mineral Policy in the Era of Sustainable Development:historical context and future content
Slavko Solar (),
Deborah Shields and
Michael Miller ()
Additional contact information Slavko Solar: Geološki zavod Slovenije, Dimiceva 14, SI-1000 Ljubljana,Slovenia
Deborah Shields: Colorado State Universtiy, Department of Economics
Michael Miller: Department of Economics, South Dakota State University
The goal of public policies is to connect desired ends with practical means toward their achievement. How the desired ends are determined, and whose goals and objectives they incorporate, depends upon the culture and political system of the country in question. With few exceptions, policies change over time to reflect changed perspectives and understanding of the world around us. This is true regardless of the policy area in question. Thus, how societies view and manage their mineral resources has evolved in response to public attitudes, societal needs, economic circumstances, cultural perspectives, political orientations, technological advancements, and geological knowledge. In this paper we examine how the scope of concern has changed for mineral policy. We then review the overarching issues that have in recent years been considered essential components of mineral policies. We point out how neoclassical microeconomics has influenced recent policy design. We then use a market flow diagram to illustrate how policies can be focused at specific market issues. We next discuss mineral resources in the context of sustainable development. We identify issues that become relevant when the frame of reference is enlarged beyond ensuring supply and capturing economic rent. We show that policy based solely on neoclassical economics may not be able to effectively incorporate these issues.