Abstract The feasibility of trebling production of essential non fuel minerals by AD 2000 is considered in relation to a rise in world population to 6 billion (10 9). Adequate supplies of common bulk ‘minerals’ like sand and gravel, brick clays and saline deposits, are assured, but mining will place additional strains on local environments. Ores of the metals that can be regarded as available in sufficient quantities include iron, aluminium, chromium, titanium, copper and nickel, and possibly also lead and zinc. In spite of the geological constraints imposed by complexity of geometry and genesis, reasoned resource estimates are possible for these, but they may not be feasible for rarer necessary minerals, such as those of the precious metals, mercury, niobium and flourine. The extraction of even the commonest of the non fuel minerals is conditioned by the availability of abundant energy at economic prices – this should be regarded as the critical factor.