Section 1 - General Introduction

Hustrulid, William ; Kennedy, Bruce
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
Georgius Agricola in 1556 wrote De Re Metallica, one of the first and probably the most famous of mining reference works. In Book 1 he reflects rather elegantly on mining and miners. "Many persons hold the opinion that the metal industries are fortuitous and that the occupation is one of sordid toil, and altogether a kind of business requiring not so much skill as labour. But as for myself, when I reflect carefully upon its special points one by one, it appears to be far otherwise. For a miner must have the greatest skill in his work, that he may know first of all what mountain or hill, what valley or plain, can be prospected most profitably, or what he should leave alone; moreover, he must understand the veins, stringers, and seams in the rocks. Then he must be thoroughly familiar with the many and varied species of earths, juices, gems, stones, marbles, rocks, metals, and compounds. He must also have a complete knowledge of the method of making all underground works. Lastly, there are the various systems of assaying substances and of preparing them for smelting; and here again there are many altogether diverse methods. ... "Furthermore, there are many arts and sciences of which a miner should not be ignorant. First there is Philosophy, that he may discern the origin, cause, and nature of subterranean things; for then he will be able to dig out the veins easily and advantageously, and to obtain more abundant results from his mining. Secondly, there is Medicine, that he may be able to look after his diggers and other workmen, that they do not meet with those diseases to which they are more liable than work- men in other occupations, or if they do meet with them, that he himself may be able to heal them or may see that the doctors do so. Thirdly follows Astronomy, that he may know the divisions of the heavens and from them judge the direction of the veins. Fourthly, there is the science of Surveying that he may be able to estimate how deep a shaft should be sunk to reach the tunnel which is being driven to it, and to determine the limits and boundaries in these workings, especially in depth. Fifthly, his knowledge of Arithmetical Science should be such that he may calculate the cost to be incurred in the machinery and the working of the mine. Sixthly, his learning must comprise Architecture, that he himself may construct the various machines and timber work required underground, or that he may be able to explain the method of the construction to others. Next, he must have knowledge of Drawing, that he can draw plans of
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