The department of “Mineralogy” was established half a century ago by the distinguished Bulgarian mineralogist and crystallographer, co-founder and president (1982-1986) of the International Mineralogical Association and indisputable creator of the Bulgarian mineralogical school, Acad. Ivan Kostov. During the times past, emblematic for the Bulgarian mineralogy scientists like Res. Prof. Yordanka Mincheva-Stephanova, Res. Prof. Peter Dragov, Res. Assoc. Prof. Georgi Terziev and Res. Assoc. Prof. Liuben Vassilev have been working in this department, as well as other distinguished scientists, who have left lasting traces in the Bulgarian and world-wide mineralogy.
The department operates an X-ray laboratory for single crystal and powder diffraction studies, SEM and EPMA analyzer as well as optical equipment for observations and measurements of mineral samples. For more concise analyses the scientists of the department use their good relations with foreign colleagues, having proper equipment at disposal.
The studies performed in the department fall in the fields of: mineralogy, crystallography of minerals, crystal growth, economic geology, wall-rock alterations, metallogeny and lately – mineralogical aspects of geo-ecology. To reflect the wide spectrum of fields studied, in 2005 the department was renamed “Mineralogy and mineral resources”. Due to administrative reorganizations in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Geological Institute in 2010-2011, the department was renamed "Mineral resources".
Between the most significant achievements of the department, the monograph “Mineralogy” of acad. Ivan Kostov must me mentioned. It is not just the text-book from which several generations of Bulgarian and foreign geologists have learned mineralogy, but it is a new view on the mineral world, where the interrelations between crystal structure and habits are placed in the base of an original, world-wide recognized classification of minerals.
The monographs “Bulgarian Minerals”, “Minerogenesis”, “Sulphide minerals”, the Metallogenic Map of Bulgaria and others are products of large-scale, long-lasting projects through which the scientists of the department established the fundamentals of the present day Bulgarian mineralogy and metallogeny.
The scientists of the department have published hundreds of papers in leading international and Bulgarian scientific periodicals. The most important items in this list include: 4 new mineral species – kostovite, hemusite, strashimirite, manganilvaite; over 80 rare and exotic minerals, new for the country; detailed crystallochemical, crystallomorphological and crystalloanatomic studies of important minerals, bearing, together with the detailed assemblage analysis important genetic information about rocks, metallic and non-metallic ores, wall-rock alterations and soils. Genetic information is revealed also by the studies of crystal growth in specific environments. All these studies lie in the base of larger scale ore-genetic models and metallogenic concepts, developed by the scientists of the department as well.
Responding to the present day society needs, during the last century the scientists of the department targeted their knowledge and skills to the solution of geo-environmental problems, caused by active and abandoned mining as well. Recognition of their achievements in this field is the recent invitation for an EC project, aiming to provide the EC parliament with scientific argumentation for the forthcoming debate on the Mining Waste Directive.
Along with the scientific studies, the department has always been creating highly educated scientists. The supervision of Msc and PhD, together with the team work of scientists from different generations ensured smooth and effective transfer of the collected experience and knowledge.
The periodical “Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Petrology” – the most respected Bulgarian publication in the field of substance-related geological sciences is created and led from decades by the scientists of the department too.