Conventionally, mineral planning is regarded as a damage limitation exercise. While understandable, this is both unimaginative and short-sighted. Mineral working offers the most stupendous opportunities for creative landscape change. If the sought-after material is dug in the best possible location, the post-extraction landscape can be more beautiful and more useful than the pre-extraction landscape. But what is the best location? Answering this question requires spatially referenced information, which can be assembled as a computer database. Two types of information are necessary: on the existing environment and on the proposed future environment.
It is the data on the proposed environment that poses the challenge. This concerns the future plans of both public and private planning organizations: housing, recreation, industry, utilities, agriculture, waste disposal, water storage, road construction, everything. The aim is to contribute to these objectives by mineral extraction. In a featureless plain, a new depression is likely to have many competing uses. At a coastal location, a new harbour can be made. In many places, new water bodies can he shaped.