The mineral diversity is of decisive significance for the sustainable development of the biosphere, being the substrate for the existence of various forms of living matter. Minerals, ores and rocks lay also in the foundation of modern technological civilization. The preservation of natural mineral diversity is a fundamental problem, equal in significance to the preservation of biological diversity. It is important to take into account that unlike living matter, minerals cannot reproduce themselves, so once destroyed they are destroyed for ever. From this point of view the role of mineralogical and natural history museums is of immense importance, as they preserve samples of the condemned to destruction non-living nature sufficient to satisfy in both quantity and quality the scientific and aesthetic needs of future human generations.

The initiative for preservation of mineral diversity was born at "Earth and Man" National museum back in 1999. Later by mutual agreement it was named The Sofia Initiative.

In order to develop this idea were organized an Internet seminar in 2000, as well as nine International symposiums “Mineral diversity – research and preservation” in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Participants in the IX Symposium "Preservation of Mineral Diversity"

Among the main themes of the symposiums were: “Mineral collections and their catalog publications – fundament for descriptive, genetic and applied research”, “Historic scientific and thematic mineral collection”, Mineral Diversity preserved in-situ and ex-situ – state of play”, “Monographic mineral collections”, “Scientific collections of famous mineralogists – historic and contemporary interpretations”, “Regional collections”, and others.

Almost 500 scientists from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, France, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Serbia participated actively in the discussions.

After every symposium scientific trips to different mineralogical interesting sites in Bulgaria were conducted.

The Tenth symposium will be held from 14 to 16 October 2019 in the "Earth and Man" National museum.

Moments from the IX Symposium

Moments of the Symposium over the years