SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.114 issue12Efficient use of energy in the ventilation and cooling of minesThe presence of shear stresses in pillars and the effect on factor of safety in a room-and-pillar layout author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717

Abstract

CRAIG, G. A.; SAYDAM, S.  and  DEMPSTER, A.G.. Mining off-Earth minerals: a long-term play?. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp. 1039-1047. ISSN 2411-9717.

The Moon, asteroids, and planets of the solar system represent the most distant caches of wealth that humanity has ever considered recovering. Yet, in addition to the potentially recoverable values represented there, harvesting off-Earth resources has a second, almost incalculable sustainable benefit in that they can be retrieved with absolutely no damage to Earth. Previous research mostly assessed the potential of asteroids and the Moon for mining purposes from a theoretical and scientific point of view. These studies investigated drawbacks that could be experienced in this type of operation, but no detailed economic evaluation that is meaningful for mining project management has been conducted and the parameters that are most likely to make an operation feasible are unknown. This paper provides a preliminary economic and sensitivity analysis of a possible off-Earth mining business extracting minerals from an existing asteroid.

Keywords : off-Earth mining; space mining; in situ resource utilization; future mining.

        · text in English     · English ( pdf )