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|The development of highly selective mineral processing reagents, which are not merely metal-ion specific, but specific to the particular mineral surface structure, is essential for the exploitation of relatively more difficult-to-process ore deposits, in particular for the separation amongst minerals having the same constituent ion. Both the choice of the functional group as well as the molecular architecture of the reagent determine its selectivity. Several examples are presented in this paper to illustrate the concepts of structure specificity and molecular recognition at mineral surfaces - the concepts crucial to the advancement of the emerging science of reagents design. Recent advances made in the understanding of molecular interactions involved in the synthesis of biomineralized materials are discussed so as to delineate the utility of this approach in the design of selective reagents for mineral separation.|