There are numerous ways to define the "future," but for the purposes of this paper, the future is the next 10 years. How the mining industry responds to environmental issues during this period will dominate its future long after the end of the century. Our technological society requires the materials produced by mining; no suitable substitutes exist for most of these materials. It is doubtful the public will accept significant limits to its present lifestyle resulting from a reduction in metal and mineral products, nor will it accept substantial reductions in environmental quality. An appropriate balance that satisfies societal and environmental needs must be negotiated. This balance can only be achieved by teamwork involving the public, industry, and government. Some groups have offered the opinion that it is not necessary to mine in the United States and that we can get our metals and minerals elsewhere. However, the attitude of "not in my backyard" does not consider our global responsibilities. If we have our mineral needs supplied by poor third world countries, we will be creating the same environmental problems in areas of the world less able and possibly less willing to control these problems. This is not the role of a responsible citizen of the earth. The United States has the knowledge and advanced technology to control environmental damage. If there is to be mining in the world, it should be done where the best technology is available to prevent contamination or environmental damage.