Grinding is an important part of mineral processing. Whether the useful minerals in the ore can fully dissociate the monomers and the particle size meets the sorting requirements has a decisive effect on the mineral processing index. In the past three decades, the Discrete Element Method (DEM) has become an important tool for understanding the grinding mechanism and providing theoretical guidance for the design, optimization and operation of grinding equipment. Moreover, with the passage of time, the application of DEM in simulating ore crushing, grinding and equipment wear has become more and more extensive and complex, which has led to tremendous changes in people's understanding of the grinding process. In this paper, the basic principles of DEM and its application background in the field of grinding are introduced, and the application status of DEM in three types of grinding equipment such as ball mills, stirring mills, and self-mills/semi-automatic mills are summarized. Subsequently, it further elaborated the research progress of DEM-based grinding theory, and pointed out the unique advantages of DEM in the field of grinding research and its development direction.