Abstract This paper discusses the development impact of mining and mineral processing on the regions in which they are located. The discussion is organized so as to be of relevance for policy formulation in resource-rich developing countries which consider the exploitation of their mineral wealth. The hypothesis is that mining technology, interpreted in a broad sense, has undergone a profound change since 1900. In consequence, experiences of mineralbased regional development in the industrialized countries around the turn of the century are of little relevance to the Third World in the 1980s. Contemporary mineral ventures have very weak regional development repercussions in the absence of forceful policies specifically directed towards the regional development goal.