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  #11  
Old March 9th, 2019, 03:20 PM
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So first a nitpick, every element heavier than iron isn't formed in stars but instead in supernovae. While a Star is involved the distinction is important. The distribution of gold in the galaxy (any galaxy) is a function of the rate of supernovae in the galaxy before the formation of a given star system.

If we posit that a good portion of stars in the 3I are of similar age to the solar system their proportions of heavy elements will be similar. Gold's rarity on Earth is more to do with extraction techniques than some absolute rarity. There's literally gigatons of precious metals diluted in the oceans. If we did wholesale strip mining of gold veins the market would be lousy with the stuff. When you see the word "rare" attached to minerals it almost always means the current market price doesn't justify extracting it from more expensive to exploit deposits.

So as far as gold in the 3I, there's plenty of uninhabited/uninhabitable planets where it would make sense to just stripmine the surface for every ounce of industrially useful minerals. The RAW prices for precious metals doesn't have a lot of meaning since those prices were derived from 1978 mining and refinement technology. The simple presence of fusion power changes the mining and extraction situation significantly.

A fusion powered smelting plant's operation cost is only personnel and equipment upkeep. The massive amount of power required to run the plant is free after the purchase of the fusion power plant. The ready availability of high temperature superconductors (pretty much necessary for small fusion plants) would allow for super efficient induction heating of minerals. The molten material could also be processed by suspending it in powerful magnetic fields rather than mechanical and thermal separation.

If anything precious metals in the 3I would be little more expensive that non-precious metals. They're rarer than iron or aluminum in absolute quantities for sure but not so rare as to be more valuable than their industrial utility. If power is so cheap as to be effectively free industry changes significantly. Aluminum is cheap enough to be used in disposable cans today because of cheap power and induction smelters exist that did not a century ago.
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Old March 9th, 2019, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
Timerover51 found and quoted the reference [Adventure 2, page 38].
Cr 200 per ounce = Cr 7054 per kg.

T20 listed Gold as a commodity at Cr 8,000,000 per metric tonne (Cr 8,000 per kg).

Both values are in the same general ballpark and are about 100x the commodity price of Silver at Cr 70 per kg (Cr 70,000 per ton).
Ship tons in T20 are explicitly volume, not mass. (p. 254.) Cargos are Td.

WHile it's not as explicit in T20 as in FF&S, the cargo tonnage carries more than a megagram per Td... TNE & T4 both use 10 megagrams per Td as the loading limit.

T20 also notes that ship systems typically mass 1.35 megagrams per Td. This is lower than MT, TNE/T4 FF&S, and CT Striker. by a factor of 3+.

So, it's more like Cr800 per kg for gold.
Silver is 70K, thus Cr7 per kg of silver
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  #13  
Old March 9th, 2019, 05:35 PM
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Elements heavier than iron can be created in stars, check out the s-process.

Here is the Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-process
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Old March 9th, 2019, 07:37 PM
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Compare 14 cubic meters of Lead, Copper, Iron, Silver and Aluminum ... Credits per Cubic Meter and Credits per tonne. Which makes sense?

With respect to GOLD, CT specifically stated that 1 ounce (a unit of weight) is worth Cr 200. Conversion of ounces to kilograms (or tonnes) is a straight forward unit conversion. Converting the VOLUME of 1 ounce of Gold to a 14 cu.m. Displacement Ton and then converting that mass of Cr200/ounce Gold into Credits per DTon will yield a staggering price for Gold.

BY WEIGHT:
Cr200/ounce x 35,234 ounces/metric tonne = Cr 7,046,800 / metric tonne

BY VOLUME:
1 dT = 14 cu.m. x 19,300 kg/cu.m [density of gold] = 270,200 kg = 270.2 metric tonnes
270.2 metric tonnes x 35,234 ounces/metric tonne = 9,520,226.8 ounces
1 dT of Gold = 9,520,226.8 ounces x Cr 200 = MCr 1,904 per Displacement Ton


So which is the more reasonable price: MCr 7 per tonne (mass) or MCr 1,900 per dTon (volume)?

From the average weight of Liquid Hydrogen, CT derives the “ton” of cargo as both 14 cubic meters and 1000 kg. Just as a TEU is both a volume and an assumed weight for that volume. No one would fill a TEU with Gold Bullion by volume. They would reach the weight limit of the container first.

Last edited by atpollard; March 10th, 2019 at 12:03 PM..
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Old March 10th, 2019, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
Elements heavier than iron can be created in stars, check out the s-process.

Here is the Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-process
I stand corrected on the formation of heavy elements in stars. However the principle still holds, gold distribution in a galaxy depends on OBA stars (and their destruction). So gold and many other heavy elements will likely exist in similar proportions in star systems like ours that formed in similar galactic conditions.

So gold and other precious metals wouldn't be rare in absolute terms in the 3I which covers a volume of space small enough that all the stars within are essentially from the same galactic neighborhood.

Not all systems will end up exactly the same and some worlds will be richer in some minerals than others or the minerals will be more accessible. Another aspect to keep in mind with respect to precious metals is in the 3I asteroid mining would be a thing. While metallic asteroids are relatively rare (at least in our solar system) a single decent sized one rich with ore would be an awesome find. No one would mind it getting literally pulverized to extract every last gram of precious/useful minerals out of it.

With the ridiculous listed price of gold a Type-J Seeker able to refine a few tons of gold pays for itself. To tear through a system's asteroid belt or some gas giants' moons looking for precious metals would be fairly quick even with a slow maneuver drive. So buy yourself a Type-J, go asteroid prospecting for a month, and come back a gajillionaire.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by giant.robot View Post
I stand corrected on the formation of heavy elements in stars. However the principle still holds, gold distribution in a galaxy depends on OBA stars (and their destruction). So gold and many other heavy elements will likely exist in similar proportions in star systems like ours that formed in similar galactic conditions.
Yup, I agree with your overall conclusion.

Quote:
So gold and other precious metals wouldn't be rare in absolute terms in the 3I which covers a volume of space small enough that all the stars within are essentially from the same galactic neighborhood.

Not all systems will end up exactly the same and some worlds will be richer in some minerals than others or the minerals will be more accessible. Another aspect to keep in mind with respect to precious metals is in the 3I asteroid mining would be a thing. While metallic asteroids are relatively rare (at least in our solar system) a single decent sized one rich with ore would be an awesome find. No one would mind it getting literally pulverized to extract every last gram of precious/useful minerals out of it.
A TL9+ civilisation would be able to mine asteroids, moons and rockball planets as fairly trivial engineering projects considering cheap fusion and gravitics.

Quote:
With the ridiculous listed price of gold a Type-J Seeker able to refine a few tons of gold pays for itself. To tear through a system's asteroid belt or some gas giants' moons looking for precious metals would be fairly quick even with a slow maneuver drive. So buy yourself a Type-J, go asteroid prospecting for a month, and come back a gajillionaire.
I agree with you again

The actual prospecting isn't exactly hard either. Fire a laser at the asteroid you want to survey and then use a spectroscope to analyse the elemental composition of said asteroid. Start with the dense ones
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Last edited by mike wightman; March 10th, 2019 at 12:45 PM..
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  #17  
Old March 10th, 2019, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
Yup, I agree with your overall conclusion.

A TL9+ civilisation would be able to mine asteroids, moons and rockball planets as a fairly trivial engineering projects considering cheap fusion and gravitics.

I agree with you again

The actual prospecting isn't exactly hard either. Fire a laser at the asteroid you want to survey and then use a spectroscope to analyse the elemental composition of said asteroid. Start with the dense ones
I've been playing wrong all these years. A Type-J is the way to go. Do one term at chargen, go make a personal fortune in a few weeks, then spend the rest of the game just being rich. It's like the Konami code of Traveller.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 12:19 PM
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Finding GOLD is pitifully simple, extracting and refining the gold is where the expense comes in.

Just as a Traveller point of reference, fusion tunneling an asteroid costs Cr 1000 per dTon. If my iron asteroid is 0.01% gold (a staggeringly rich concentration), then each 1 ton of gold requires 10,000 tons of iron ore being extracted and refined to liberate that 1 ton of Gold from its surrounding waste. If your Prospector can extract and process 1 ton of ore per HOUR, then it will only take 417 days to refine 1 ton of pure gold.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
Finding GOLD is pitifully simple, extracting and refining the gold is where the expense comes in.

Just as a Traveller point of reference, fusion tunneling an asteroid costs Cr 1000 per dTon. If my iron asteroid is 0.01% gold (a staggeringly rich concentration), then each 1 ton of gold requires 10,000 tons of iron ore being extracted and refined to liberate that 1 ton of Gold from its surrounding waste. If your Prospector can extract and process 1 ton of ore per HOUR, then it will only take 417 days to refine 1 ton of pure gold.
So I still become rich after a few weeks*. That's better than trying to fill the hold of an A1 with valuable enough crap to make a living. To the mines!

*For large values of few.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 02:51 PM
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On the Seeker=Comstock Lode front, one has to assume any belt that has been open for more then 10 years has been picked over for the obvious/good stuff, and the Seeker vibe is one of ratty serviceable ships on the edge of maintenance pushing for that last vein.


The one month rich thing would be for goldrush opening of a system- afterwards it's edge of desperation working for extraction from poor sources.



I don't know how far we want to take Nuclear Damper technology, but to me it strongly suggests industrial scale transmutation, or likely the TL12 equivalent of being able to extract the tailings that otherwise are not worth the processing.
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