Various theories have been advanced to explain the well-known uneven distribution of metals and ore-deposit types in space and time. Primordial differences in the mantle, preferential concentration of elements in the crust, the prevalence of ore-forming processes at certain times and (or) places, and combinations of one or several of these factors have all been called upon to account for the "metallogenic provinces," which can be defined loosely as regions containing similar deposits of one or a group of metals or minerals. Because many, perhaps most, provinces have complex, multistage origins, the relative importance of inheritance vs. process is still controversial. In recent years the geographic relationship of many geologically young provinces to present-day plate-tectonic positions (accreting or consuming margins, intraplate structures, etc.) has been widely recognized, and the presumption is strong that older provinces had similar relationships to former plates. As most ore deposits resulted from a favorable conjunction of geological processes that are no longer operative, elucidation of their genesis requires reconstruction of the geologic history of the province, with particular emphasis on events coeval with mineralization. Tectonic analysis is an important aspect of this reconstruction; data from orbiting satellites have contributed greatly to this analysis, as the voluminous literature of the past decade testifies. Both the synoptic view of large areas and the ability to emphasize faint contrasts have revealed linear, curvilinear, and circular features not previously recognized from field studies. Some of these undoubtedly reflect basement structures that have contributed to the development, or limit the extent, of metallogenic provinces. Their recognition and delineation will be increasingly valuable to the assessment of resources available and as guides to exploration for the ores needed by future generations. ?? 1983.