Abstract The sequences of development of the contemporary mineral liberation technique are reviewed, and the emergence and development of contemporary mills as a main mineral liberation tool, is discussed. The origin of development of the technique and the working hypothesis of the mechanism of high voltage electrical pulse liberation of minerals are described, and the state of the contemporary design and construction of pulse generators are discussed. The types of pulse generators and working chambers, used in the reported liberation tests, are presented. The technological results of tests on the liberation of diamonds, emeralds, minerals, containing metals of platinum group, refractory gold and silver, iron, copper, magnesium ilmenite, and of metals of smelter slags, are reported. The account of the application of pulse liberation technique for the recovery of gold from old tailings by application of high frequency and low energy pulses, is given. The prospects and ways of introduction of the technology of mineral liberation by pulses into industry are discussed.