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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06 2016, @06:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-will-convert-your-wealth-to-earth-dollars dept.

Luxembourg has announced that it will invest in the fledgling asteroid mining industry:

The government of Luxembourg announced Wednesday that the country will be investing in the as-yet-unrealized industry of asteroid mining. The tiny European country will be funding research into the extraction of minerals from objects in space, working on legal and regulatory frameworks to govern such activities and, potentially, directly investing in companies active in the field. The nation's ministry of the economy says in a statement that the measures are meant "to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources."

It's a futuristic move, but not a wholly startling one. Luxembourg is already home to SES, a satellite operator, and has previously moved to boost its international high-tech profile.

[...] Luxembourg hopes to address [the legality of space mining] too, with a formal legal framework of its own — possibly constructed with international input — to ensure that those who harvest minerals can be confident that they'll own what they bring home. "The aim is to stimulate economic growth on Earth and offer new horizons in space exploration," Luxembourg's ministry of the economy writes.

TechCrunch reports:

This announcement comes shortly after the United States took a huge step forward in making commercial space mining legal. President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) in November, which stated that U.S. companies are entitled to maintain property rights of resources they've obtained from outer space. [...] CSLCA explicitly outlined private sector rights which were only implicitly stated in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which is the prevailing international law on these matters. Now that CSLCA has been passed in the U.S., it reduces regulatory risk for domestic companies investing millions of dollars into the technology required to properly mine space resources. With today's announcement Luxembourg is on its way to become the second country to lay the groundwork required to make space mining a reality.

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  • (Score: 2) by legont on Monday February 08 2016, @01:23AM

    by legont (4179) on Monday February 08 2016, @01:23AM (#300388)

    Even assuming you are correct, I am not so sure about scarcity argument either. First of all much of the scarcity seems artificial. Say your example with rare earth. We had this a few years back and a Goldman Sachs darling Molycorp went to $75 a share or so. Sure they own the biggest rare earth mine right between SF and Vegas. []
    Last time I checked it was 4 cents. Perhaps it's too environmentally dirty? Well, they own one of the biggest Soviet mines in Estonia where nobody gives a poo about environment, wages are dirt cheap and it does not look healthy either. [] Perhaps we want to fix that before we start bringing more down. Just a thought.

    Lets take another hypothetical example. Say we find a way to cheaply import hydrocarbons from Titan. This would enable us to prolong oil epoch perhaps indefinitely. Do we really want it? The only solution would be to prohibit some imports and allow for others, but with cheap gas? Forgetaboutit.
    That's another reason it'd be much better to basically say - nothing down from space - build over there. And it probably does not even need a prohibition - we just should not subsidize bringing raw materials from space. Subsidizing manufacturing up there would be nice though. And we should start with right laws. Not that I like or even respect them, but because we work like that for now)

    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
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  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Monday February 08 2016, @02:20PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Monday February 08 2016, @02:20PM (#300595)

    I am not so sure about scarcity argument

    the only time i mentioned scarcity was when i was talking about a post-scarcity economy.

    Post-scarcity is a theoretical economy in which most goods can be produced in great abundance with minimal human labor needed, so that they become available to all very cheaply or even freely.

    right now, a lot of human labor goes into mining, the environment gets trashed in the process and people are exploited to boot. if asteroid mining can get the material without any of that, why would you object?