Mineral resources and environmental interactions: types, management and teaching

A.Y. 2017/2018
Overall hours
Learning objectives
In the first part, the aim of the course is the understanding of the basic concepts of economic geology. In particular, 1) definitions related to the concepts of ore and deposit; 2) the understanding of the close relationship between the human society and the exploitation of natural resources of geological origin; 3) the principal economic mechanisms which govern the exploitation of an ore deposit and 4) the main processes induced by the mining activity on the surrounding geological, hydrological, biological and antropic environment. The second part of the course is aimed to provide the knowledge of the main mineralogical and geological (genesis and deposits) features, as well as the most important uses of some industrial minerals and metals.
The third part of the course deals with basic concept related to geoheritage and geotourism and with their use for education and disclosure.
All parts are equipped with real examples that illustrate theory.
Expected learning outcomes
Understanding of the basic concepts of economic geology reported above.
Capability of evaluating the importance for the society, the prospection, exploitation and separation methods, and the genetic context of the main mineral resources.
Capability of determining the main factors of environmental risk induced by the exploitation of mineral resources.
Capability to use for education and disclosure the national and international geologic patrimony through concepts related to geoheritage and the different ways it is promoted.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second semester
Part I: Introduction
· Introduction to geological resources: definitions, concepts, classifications
· Evolution of geological resources
· Geological resources and the environment
· Geological resources and disclosure
Part II
· Geological resources types: description, uses and environmental impact
· The "geomaterials"
o Industrial minerals and aggregates; an introduction to final products: cement and ceramics
o Metals
· Resources for energy: oil and hydrocarbons
Part III (3CFU) Strategies for disclosure and teaching
· Teaching geological resources
o Geological resources and ministry guidelines
o State of the art: the Earth Sciences in the Italian teaching system
o Geological resources: acquiring skills
· Communication of Earth Sciences
o Communication through the medias
o Field trip activities for communicating and disseminating
· General concepts (different kind of users etc)
· Field trip activities for understanding the geological resources
· Field trip activities for understanding the landscape as a resource 4h
o Tools for disseminating and teaching the geological resources
· Samples
· Maps
· Communication and teaching materials
o Geological resources and the lab
o Geological resources in the world
o The local background: Italy and Lombardy
Field trip activities: 2 excursions
· Mine or quarry
· Geo-heritage site
Practicals with elements of theory: 24 hours
Lessons: 32 hours