February 2020
Volume 72    Issue 2

Space mining is the industry of the future ... or maybe the present?

Mining Engineering , 2020, Vol. 72, No. 2, pp. 40-40
del-Real, Jose Garcia; Barakos, George; Mischo, Helmut


Our solar system is full of critical raw materials. Asteroids such as Ryugu or Davida have mineral resources worth about $27 quintillion (Statista, 2019). Their exploitation could mean a sustainable solution for mankind and the end of dependence on these resources on Earth. But who would be the owner of these valuable resources? The United States and Luxembourg have begun to create a legislative framework for the exploration and commercial use of the moon’s resources and the so-called celestial bodies. This paper aims to analyze the current situation in space mining of critical raw materials and its forecast for the year 2025. Since 1957 when the first satellite was placed in space, more than 1,500 satellites are
now orbiting the earth for commercial, civilian, military and nonmilitary purposes. Of these satellites, 40 percent belong to the United States,
13 percent to China, 10 percent to Russia, followed by Japan at 4 percent, United Kingdom at 3 percent and India at 3 percent. The remaining
29 percent is shared by the rest of world nations, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (Goldman Sachs, 2017).

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