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|Water soluble polymers play an important role in many industries. The mining industry is dependent on these materials to help accomplish many solid-liquid (water) separations. Mechanical devices alone are not capable of achieving the degree of separation needed. Mechanical and chemical separations act in concert to accomplish the necessary separation. The history of the use of water soluble polymers has gone through several evolutionary phases and I believe we are facing another of these phases. At first, various natural products were common - starches, gums, and various polysaccharides. These were replaced by the synthetic polymers based on copolymerization of various vinylmonomers mainly in conjunction with acrylamide. The use of these polymers and their needs continues to grow. This paper will cover a brief overview followed by a look at the future of water soluble polymers. A focus will be on applications of water soluble polymers in the mining industry.|