Citizens of the Imperium

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flykiller June 28th, 2019 09:53 PM

beltstrike
 
the golden asteroid

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-...00-quintillion

jcrocker June 29th, 2019 01:31 AM

I call dibbs on the platinum one!

Oh, it doesn't work like that?

mike wightman June 29th, 2019 03:19 AM

So the space race goes well over the next decade or so.

The Chinese, Europeans, US, India, Russia, Israel, South Korea, Japan plus a couple I have possible missed all build their own orbital space stations and moon bases.

They all build fuel manufactories on the moon to refuel ships in Earth orbit, and the next phase begins of building the infrastructure to build machinery and ships in space and on the moon with raw materials from the moon and nearby asteroids.

Phase three is to send robotic ships to the asteroids to carve up chunks of rare earths, gold etc.

A US mining robot arrives at an asteroid, it sets up. A Chinese robot arrives, it sets up on the other side, there is plenty to share. A new era of peace and harmony as the nations share the resources of the solar system for the betterment of humankind.

or alternatively the more likely scenario - I got here first it is all mine, no its not, yes it is, no its not, bang, yes it is. Bigger bang and now its mine...

What if instead of governments a private consortium of companies, lets call them Blue X. decide to use their considerable tech advantage to get to the gold asteroid et al first. The corporation becomes the richest, most influential power in the solar system - or do world governments use their one advantage to take their stuff?

A near future solar system based Traveller game writes itself, and becomes the basis for Twilight 2150... :devil:

mike wightman June 29th, 2019 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcrocker (Post 603492)
I call dibbs on the platinum one!

Oh, it doesn't work like that?

One of the problems is we don't know how it will work in practice.
What if the Chinese get to the asteroid first?

Will it become like Japanese whale farming - sorry - scientific research? Apply for a licence to 'study' some asteroids with robots that can 'send back samples'. Oops I've accidentally dismantled the asteroid and sent 1000 tons of samples (heavy metals and rare earths) back to my Lunar refinery and industrial complex. We will now study its potential applications by building stuff with it.
Who will regulate? Who will grant licences? Who will police? Who will enforce?

aramis June 29th, 2019 03:33 AM

Commercial use is supposed to be regulated by the national governments, for the betterment of all mankind... or so the Outer Space Treaty firmly implies.

The maritime international law explicitly applies.

Condottiere June 29th, 2019 03:38 AM

Why do you think Bezos and Musk are building rockets?

Jeff needs to pay alimony, and Elon needs liquidity.

mike wightman June 29th, 2019 04:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 603499)
Commercial use is supposed to be regulated by the national governments, for the betterment of all mankind... or so the Outer Space Treaty firmly implies.

You mean like the treaty the US government had with the Black Hills Native American tribes...
(note I am using this example because it is the most famous gold induced treaty violation I could remember, I'm pretty sure other governments throughout history have also ignored treaties when expedient to make money)

Quote:

The maritime international law explicitly applies.
How so?

aramis June 29th, 2019 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 603507)
You mean like the treaty the US government had with the Black Hills Native American tribes...
(note I am using this example because it is the most famous gold induced treaty violation I could remember, I'm pretty sure other governments throughout history have also ignored treaties when expedient to make money)

How so?

The OST specifically calls for those. So mining asteroids is going to be regulaatorily the same as mining the deep ocean floor.

atpollard June 29th, 2019 02:36 PM

When Spain began importing large quantities of Gold from the Americas to Europe, the price of gold fell. When vast deposits of silver reached the market in the late 20th century the price of silver plummeted.

The introduction of millions of tons of gold will not make one nation wealthy beyond belief, it will reduce the price of gold to a commodity like copper or aluminum.

mike wightman June 29th, 2019 02:45 PM

Not if you do what they have done with diamonds - pretend they are scarce and keep the prices high.

You don't dump 1000t of gold, rare earths or other precious/heavy metals into the market all at once. You use what you need for your own manufacturing needs and drip feed enough to keep the market price high enough for you to make a killing.

aramis June 29th, 2019 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by atpollard (Post 603521)
When Spain began importing large quantities of Gold from the Americas to Europe, the price of gold fell. When vast deposits of silver reached the market in the late 20th century the price of silver plummeted.

The introduction of millions of tons of gold will not make one nation wealthy beyond belief, it will reduce the price of gold to a commodity like copper or aluminum.

If they simply hold it in reserve, yes, it will.

kilemall June 29th, 2019 04:05 PM

Perfect excuse for artificial supply 'management'- leave the rock in place. Oh it is so HARD to get the stuff back, etc.


The more interesting consequence to me is



A) heavy metals may be much cheaper in space then earth and so a lot of factories that can move to space for the cheap solar and material builds
B) whether the rock is mined in place or moved to near earth, there are people willing to go out there and steal, even if they aren't nations or megacorps. The usual response is guns. I wonder if the weapons provision of the OST gets ignored, enforced when convenient, or modified to avoid oribtal weapons platforms or moon rock drops.

jcrocker June 29th, 2019 05:28 PM

If the companies have to indulge in a little supply management to keep the prices up a bit, and earn back the high outlay, fair enough. One the industry matures a bit, the prices would come down through competition - and the space based metals can't jack the prices up too much while we still have supplies here on earth.

As for claim-jumping or theft, well, maybe the style will be for ships to have very robust laser communication systems, ones that could handle massive surges of power for short periods, in case of "interference".

Drakon June 29th, 2019 07:54 PM

Even in the modern day OPEC has a big problem maintaining oil prices at too high a level, and the addition of the material to the general economy will cause a big technical change.

What would a world be like when gold is pennies an ounce? When it is so abundant, that gold plated silverware is disposable? What kind of exotic alloys would we come up with?

atpollard June 29th, 2019 10:35 PM

You are expecting a Chinese vs EU vs USA trade war as they rush to exploit space and be the richest nation on the planet, but they will all work together with the large corporations to agree on self regulation to sustain an artificial shortage? That seems a pretty tall order.

I think you have a better chance of ending war and hunger than greed.

McPerth June 29th, 2019 10:49 PM

From my non-expert in economics POV:

Well, going for this gold (and other metals) is sure going to be quite expensive, and I guess if anyone (mostly if a commercial venture) goes to mine them, it will expect some profit from it. This profit should come from the commercialization of this wealth, but commercializing it will lower the prices…

OTOH; how can this profit be collected if they keep the gold (and other metals) hidden to avoid the prices plummeting?

This reminds me about a paradox about money I read time ago (translated from Catalan to the best of my capacity); If you have money and spend it, you don’t have it anymore; but if you have money and do not spend it, it’s as good as if don’t have it.

flykiller June 30th, 2019 12:12 AM

Quote:

we don't know how it will work in practice
it won't. getting the equipment there is energy intensive, mining the material in a controlled manner is energy intensive, getting the material back to earth is energy intensive. it all adds up to more energy than can be brought to bear. can't do it.

flykiller June 30th, 2019 12:14 AM

Quote:

The maritime international law explicitly applies.
it'll be more like pirates of the carribean in space.

Condottiere June 30th, 2019 04:27 AM

https://i.gifer.com/9Ahu.gif

mike wightman June 30th, 2019 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flykiller (Post 603542)
it won't. getting the equipment there is energy intensive, mining the material in a controlled manner is energy intensive, getting the material back to earth is energy intensive. it all adds up to more energy than can be brought to bear. can't do it.

Actually - it can be done. Solar panels can provide the energy. They can provide the energy for ion engines and plasma rockets, smelters, refineries, manufacturing. All we need to do is invest the money to make it possible. If western governments won't the Chinese will...

Not only that in a couple of decades it will have to be done or there will be no more smartphones, tablets, touchscreens...

Step one - get launch to orbit costs down. nearly done
Step two - build a moon base that can make fuel. In time expand the moon industry to solar panel and rocket production, then add nuclear power plant and rtg production. initial bases are already planned by several nations.
Step three - build an Earth orbital station to refuel rockets. do this while building your moon base
Step four - send robots to mine asteroids.

flykiller July 1st, 2019 12:08 AM

Quote:

Actually - it can be done. Solar panels can provide the energy.
ok, it can't be done in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Quote:

All we need to do is invest the money to make it possible.
money isn't the issue. the issue is cost. for example there's quite a bit of gold in our local oceans, but it costs more to precipitate it out of salt water than the gold is worth. space ops will be even less efficient.

Quote:

If western governments won't the Chinese will...
(smile) sure. they build ghost cities, why not build space-ghost mining operations. they could call it "the golden lucky money south sea people's sky mine" or something.

Quote:

initial bases are already planned by several nations.
plans are a dime a dozen. almost literally. operations are costly. for example the mars rovers cost (iirc) $40 million, and they were just little wagon-sized buggies that didn't even return or send anything back. an operation to get sufficient equipment to an asteroid, break it up any useful quantity of material, and then bring the material back in a controlled manner, will be exponentially more costly. can't see it being profitable. it would be much more profitable for investors to put up billboards all around the country saying "private investor wants to buy your gold, call 1-800-something".

aramis July 1st, 2019 12:31 AM

Some facts: Current gold price: around $4400 per kg, or $4.4M per ton.
A heat shield and parachutes can land some 20+ tons from orbit for launch cost plus about $15K ... that leaves $28M to get the gold and get it to the skeletal shield and chutes, given a $65M launch. At present, that looks unlikely... a $10M high-delta-V refillable can make it workable.

Trip 1 is upfront cost. 2-4 recovery probes, ion-drive. No science instruments, only minimum nav and grapple.
Trip 2 is refills for trip 1's birds, and maybe a couple more, and an empty return.
Trip 3 reuses the return, and refules the birds.
Repeat.
By about trip 7, you're profiting if you haven't collapsed the market.

flykiller July 1st, 2019 12:43 AM

Quote:

if you haven't collapsed the market
and that's a whole 'nuther issue - the economics. dumping $600 million worth of gold on the market (and you'd have to, to pay for your operations) means it's no longer worth $600 million, it's worth a lot less, meaning you have to get more and dump more, meaning it's worth even less. and keep in mind that existing costs are based on single missions, not sustained operations that require maintenance and replacement.

can't do it.

Barrel July 1st, 2019 01:26 AM

No need to dump it all at once--amortize it. Borrow money to replace the cash you spent getting the space gold, with an agreement to pay it off over 30 to 50 years. Companies and governments issue bonds of that duration now. The terms of the bond could even specify repayment in bullion.

aramis July 1st, 2019 03:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Barrel (Post 603578)
No need to dump it all at once--amortize it. Borrow money to replace the cash you spent getting the space gold, with an agreement to pay it off over 30 to 50 years. Companies and governments issue bonds of that duration now. The terms of the bond could even specify repayment in bullion.

I suspect Bezos or Branson could float about 10 flights on spec, provided they can keep things going on other projects. Balmer could, too. (Gates has sunk his wealth elsewhere.)

Heck, Besos and Branson working together could create a gold cartel to rival DeBeers Diamond Cartel.

Straybow July 4th, 2019 06:28 AM

Psyche is believed to be a failed planetary core. Unlike other asteroids, it is consolidated and compacted material rather than the loose clump of gravel that is more typical. That means extraction will be nearly as tough as on Earth, except for the microgravity.

Psyche is nearly 3 AU out, so solar panels will get only 1/9th as much power as Earth satellite panels get. It would take a huge solar array on Earth to run mining and smelting ops. We are decades away from the launch capacity we'd need to get such panels that far out.

mike wightman July 4th, 2019 02:12 PM

That's why we need moon bases for a space industrial revolution...

aramis July 4th, 2019 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Straybow (Post 603679)
Psyche is believed to be a failed planetary core. Unlike other asteroids, it is consolidated and compacted material rather than the loose clump of gravel that is more typical. That means extraction will be nearly as tough as on Earth, except for the microgravity.

Psyche is nearly 3 AU out, so solar panels will get only 1/9th as much power as Earth satellite panels get. It would take a huge solar array on Earth to run mining and smelting ops. We are decades away from the launch capacity we'd need to get such panels that far out.

The launch capacity exists already. It's the mining and relocation that's not.
And the mining can be made easier by instead relocating the asteroid to earth orbit.

flykiller July 4th, 2019 11:50 PM

Quote:

And the mining can be made easier by instead relocating the asteroid to earth orbit.
... uh ... yeah, the MINING could be made easier by just bringing the WHOLE THING here first ....

Timerover51 July 5th, 2019 02:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 603693)
The launch capacity exists already. It's the mining and relocation that's not.
And the mining can be made easier by instead relocating the asteroid to earth orbit.

Having, in theory, that much gold sitting overhead might also tank the market, or at the very least, reduce the price by quite a bit. After all, they do have to recover their costs in moving the asteroid and then retaining the mining capacity.

Condottiere July 5th, 2019 03:54 AM

Or you can re-establish the Gold Standard.

Or strategically threaten those who've been hoarding.

Straybow July 13th, 2019 02:43 AM

At 2E19 kg, all the oil produced in the world, if devoted to the effort, split between fuel sent to propel the asteroid and the fuel required to launch it from earth to the asteroid, couldn't bring the asteroid here in a century. And, of course, we can't devote the entire transportation resources of the world for a century much less reach that launch capacity.

If we could magically use the energy to move the asteroid, a century at present production rates would amount to 25 kWh per kg. That would easily do it... of course, if we can magically move the asteroid we don't need the gold.

mike wightman July 13th, 2019 05:20 AM

You do not need to use the Earth's resources to provide the kinetic energy.

The asteroid has gravitational potential energy, lots of it. Give it a nudge and its orbit changes - it can fall towards the sun and potential energy becomes kinetic energy. This kinetic energy changes its orbit a bit more. Change its orbit to be in the viscinity of Earth from time to time and at these times of closest approach send the payloads of gold extracet by your minng robots.

Painting once side of the asteroid white would be enough - it would just take a long time, a very long time. Or put an ion engine powered by solar panels or a nuclear reactor. Again it will take a long time but not as long as painting it.

I would be very wary of trying to put this thing in actual orbit around the Earth or moon since it is going to be going a tad fast as it flies by on its new orbit.

The simplest method, and probably the cheapest, would be to send a robotic mining operation there powered by solar or nuclear. The robots would mine the gold and manufacture fuel for the return trip.
(can't gold be used as propellant for an ion engine... or you could build a mass driver and use waste rock as reaction mass)

BRJN July 13th, 2019 01:10 PM

The chunks you cut off the asteroid do not have to be neat. Send a series of small pieces (that would burn up in atmosphere in the event you are clumsy) which will fit into your in-orbit processing machinery. Small-ish vehicles to collect the arriving chunks can have higher speeds and maneuverability than if they had to handle multi-deca-ton asteroidlets.

Of course this stops working well when there are two rivals trying to catch the incoming rocks.

kilemall July 13th, 2019 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BRJN (Post 604175)
The chunks you cut off the asteroid do not have to be neat. Send a series of small pieces (that would burn up in atmosphere in the event you are clumsy) which will fit into your in-orbit processing machinery. Small-ish vehicles to collect the arriving chunks can have higher speeds and maneuverability than if they had to handle multi-deca-ton asteroidlets.

Of course this stops working well when there are two rivals trying to catch the incoming rocks.


IMTU the LaGrange points host solar foundries, originally built to melt tailings from He3 lunar mining into orbital city colonies. They get repurposed into asteroid smelters, and yes the chunks need to be small to be allowed anywhere near Earth.


It's a continuous stream, a river of rock that keeps the industrial machine fed. Course, what makes that work is Traveller M-Drive and power plants, continuous accel/decel.

flykiller July 13th, 2019 03:51 PM

Quote:

Of course this stops working well when there are two rivals trying to catch the incoming rocks.
(laugh) sounds like a grade-school dodgeball contest ....

Quote:

Course, what makes that work is Traveller M-Drive and power plants
bingo. chemical fuels and solar panels can't do it.

mike wightman July 13th, 2019 04:05 PM

Yes they can. It's a question of investment, not capability.

When it is cheaper to harvest rare earths and the like from asteroids than it is to try and exploit the dwindling resources here on Earth then it will be done.

flykiller July 13th, 2019 04:41 PM

Quote:

It's a question of investment, not capability.
in theory, sure. in practice investors want to see returns on their investments within their lifetimes, and if they don't see those returns then they just won't invest.

Quote:

When it is cheaper to harvest rare earths and the like from asteroids than it is to try and exploit the dwindling resources here on Earth then it will be done.
in theory, sure. in practice the costs would be so high that no-one will be able, let alone willing, to muster the resources to do so.

mike wightman July 13th, 2019 04:53 PM

The cost to orbit is dropping. Moon stations and bases will be built. Once the bases are built industry will follow. Cost will fall again.

In thirty years time when the world is being held to ransom by those few countries that have the mineral resources the alternative option to catastrophic war will be space industry and resource exploitation.

Trouble is China, Russia and possibly India may well get there first.

flykiller July 13th, 2019 11:18 PM

Quote:

China, Russia, and possibly India
nah. china's debt ponzi economy is rolling over, not to mention they're on the edge of a huge demographic decline. russia ... maybe. they have the tech, but they lack the economic weight. as for india, they're like brazil - the superpower of the future, and always will be.

Quote:

Moon stations and bases will be built.
and they'll suffer the same fates as the viking colonies in vinland and greenland.

flykiller July 14th, 2019 12:23 AM

Quote:

the alternative option to catastrophic war
actually, catastrophic war would be perceived by the potential victors as considerably cheaper ....

Condottiere July 14th, 2019 03:56 AM

Selective plague and computer virus.

The Chinese aren't the only ones running on empty and waiting for a technological revolution to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.

flykiller July 14th, 2019 05:59 PM

Quote:

Selective plague
yep. heard of "pigmageddon"? funny how that just shows up out of the blue after thousands of years of pork production ....

Quote:

and computer virus.
well that's actually kind of universal. heh, read that the u.s. government ordered all huwai equipment removed from all government facilities, and they can't because there's so much of it ....

Quote:

The Chinese aren't the only ones running on empty
no, no they are not the only ones by any means.

Quote:

and waiting for a technological revolution to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.
"the revolution will not be televised" ....

giant.robot July 14th, 2019 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 604188)
Yes they can. It's a question of investment, not capability.

When it is cheaper to harvest rare earths and the like from asteroids than it is to try and exploit the dwindling resources here on Earth then it will be done.

When is it going to be cheaper to invest hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars into asteroid mining than to invest hundreds of millions to exploit resources on Earth? "Rare earths" aren't actually that rare, they're just difficult to exploit at the prices the market for them wants. China sells rare earths like crazy because 1) the government subsidizes mines to undercut competition and 2) environmental issues are largely ignored. It's not because they have the only deposits of them.

There's also many tons of such materials sitting in landfills. When aluminum was first refined it was crazy expensive, not because bauxite is rare but the amount of energy to smelt the aluminum is significant. It remained expensive until the advent of induction heating. Now we make drink cans out of it and throw hundreds of millions of them into the trash (or profitably recycle them).

Asteroid mining makes sense in a sci-fi universe with cheap nuclear fusion and reactionless drives. In the real world it is highly impractical and viciously expensive. Pulling minerals out of seawater, deeper terrestrial mines, and landfills is orders of magnitude cheaper and actually feasible.

The Earth is fantastically large and we've only exploited a relatively small fraction of its surface. The real limited and non-renewable resources are fossil fuels. Again though, exploitation is often economic rather than a question of raw quantities. There's a large number of unexploited stores of oil that just aren't profitable at $100 a barrel. If actual rarity of oil brought the price to profitable levels those expensive fields would be hit. However energy prices increasing would also make alternatives feasible.

AndyW July 14th, 2019 11:13 PM

Terrestrial mining responds to paper market manipulations. The precious metals, in particular, exhibit this tendency. Paper trading in multiples of real supply keeps a rein on mining. I suspect there's more than enough to be had locally if only the manipulations were to go away. I think that a truly interstellar society with an attendant population explosion would arise before wholesale belt mining would become a thing.

mike wightman July 20th, 2019 03:34 AM

Article about NASA's plans to mine the moon:
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techa...cid=spartandhp

nobby-w July 20th, 2019 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by giant.robot (Post 604277)
When is it going to be cheaper to invest hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars into asteroid mining than to invest hundreds of millions to exploit resources on Earth? "Rare earths" aren't actually that rare, they're just difficult to exploit at the prices the market for them wants.
[ . . . ]

There's a sort of chicken-and-egg problem here. In an OTU style 'verse, as in many sci-fi settings it's assumed that space travel and space habitat technology is cheap enough that exploiting resources in space is economically viable. That's fine as far as it goes. You can drive it off rule-of-cool.

If space travel is more expensive - and in particular getting up out of a gravity well is expensive - then you can have a setting where mining stuff in space to make space infrastructure is more cost effective. You can ascribe whatever motivation to this that you want. Perhaps support for large, unstreamlined jump ships supporting colonisation efforts (think Alliance-Union 'verse, for example). It may be that your space industry simply needs a whole lot of infrastructure to function and it's just not practical to lug it all up a gravity well.

For example, if you wanted to make something in the moon's L4 or L5 point and didn't want to postulate a two or three order-of-magnitude improvement in the specific impulse of drive technology then a plant processing lunar regolith for titanium, aluminium, oxygen and various other odds and sods and firing them into an orbital rendezvous with the construction site could easily make sense. Mining hydrocarbons from Titan is perhaps a bigger stretch unless you're building something in orbit around Jupiter but I wouldn't characterise it as egregious mcguffinite abuse.

giant.robot July 20th, 2019 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nobby-w (Post 604519)
There's a sort of chicken-and-egg problem here. In an OTU style 'verse, as in many sci-fi settings it's assumed that space travel and space habitat technology is cheap enough that exploiting resources in space is economically viable. That's fine as far as it goes. You can drive it off rule-of-cool.

If space travel is more expensive - and in particular getting up out of a gravity well is expensive - then you can have a setting where mining stuff in space to make space infrastructure is more cost effective. You can ascribe whatever motivation to this that you want. Perhaps support for large, unstreamlined jump ships supporting colonisation efforts (think Alliance-Union 'verse, for example).

For example, if you wanted to something in the moon's L4 or L5 point and didn't want to postulate a two or three order-of-magnitude improvement in the specific impulse of drive technology then a plant processing lunar regolith for titanium, aluminium, oxygen and various other odds and sods and firing them into an orbital rendezvous with the construction site could easily make sense. Mining hydrocarbons from Titan is perhaps a bigger stretch unless you're building something in orbit around Jupiter but I wouldn't characterise it as egregious mcguffinite abuse.

My issue is more on the specific statement Mike made about "dwindling resource of Earth" being a thing and asteroid mining being a solution. First I posits that "dwindling resource of Earth" is not a thing and even if it was asteroid mining is so impractical the opportunity cost is orders of magnitude beyond the next possible solution, of which I think there's several. Both ideas I think are very hyperbolic.

In a sci-fi setting you're right on both counts. In a space travel is easy setting space based mining and manufacturing is also easy. Stuff might be slightly more expensive but the economics would end up with stuff making sense to make in space being made in space and everything else made on the ground. In a space travel is "hard" setting (but easier than IRL) space manufacture only makes sense for stuff that really can only be built in space but then it's still expensive because space travel is hard. As you said, the space built stuff is the domain of large organizations (likely only governments) due to the infrastructure and cost requirements.

BRJN July 20th, 2019 07:36 PM

Two books that would be of interest here
Space Resources: Breaking the Bonds of Earth
The Case for Space

Both authors explain that when you finally send a basic tool shop up to orbit (or the Moon or wherever the ores / resources are), the cost of building things there drops quickly.

Also of recent note: SpaceX and its eccentric genius have covered more ground in a few years than NASA has in decades.

aramis July 20th, 2019 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by giant.robot (Post 604523)
My issue is more on the specific statement Mike made about "dwindling resource of Earth" being a thing and asteroid mining being a solution. First I posits that "dwindling resource of Earth" is not a thing and even if it was asteroid mining is so impractical the opportunity cost is orders of magnitude beyond the next possible solution, of which I think there's several. Both ideas I think are very hyperbolic.

large portions of the resources of earth are inaccessible.

What is accessible is limited by
  • Depth. Earth may be 30% iron... but the crust isn't.
  • extractability ... The Fairbanks uranium ore deposit is too low quality to be useful, for example.
  • environmental impact: the Pebble Mine project is standing still due to environmental regulations.
  • contaminants: a large number of mineral deposits have dangerous contaminants. Portions of the Usibelli Coal Mine site have contaminants that preclude extracting the coal)
  • under habitation: can't remove the ground underneath the cities safely.
  • competing non-mining needs: If the area is used for farming, you aren't mining it
  • under ice or deep water: extraction isn't practical


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