Mineral resources have been used for millennia and are a key to society’s development. With the growing importance of new technologies and the energy revolution, questions have arisen regarding the future availability of resources of metals and industrial minerals. As discovering large high-grade deposits has become increasingly rare, the concept of “sustainable development” will become viewed as essential to extract metals/minerals from new low-grade deposits. In addition to economic considerations, it is essential to reconcile mining activity with environmental protection and to allay the concerns of local populations. This issue of Elements highlights the progressive movement towards an active environmental and societal strategy for sustainably harnessing mineral resources.