Conventional mineralogy was mainly based on optical microscopic techniques. Years of experience in studying ore and gangue minerals using an optical microscope allowed for quick identification of minerals, opinions on abundances of certain minerals, liberation, required grind size and reasons for high mass pulls or tailings losses. More detailed investigations involving point counting techniques, XRD and chemical methods provided additional information to quantify certain aspects of the problem studied. Developments in automation of SEM-based techniques, computerised XRD processing and identification, imaging software, etc. has impacted on the tasks of mineralogists. Future equipment developments and the implementation of plant systems will probably minimise the need for experienced mineralogists for the more routine applications. This publication discusses how processing requirements have driven developments on current systems. The changing role of mineralogists is discussed, as well as knowledge and experience requirements to drive applied or process mineralogy forward.