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Space Mining (6 replies)

John Koenig
10 months ago
John Koenig 10 months ago

Partly aimed at encouraging private space commercialization and maybe space mining, the US has passed a new space act.



If the principal is first come first served, it will be US money out of a low compliance front. Sri Lanka might have a problem with Elon Musk building his mars base out of local materials but, other than issuing an arrest warrant for Mr. Musk, what can they do about it. I suspect that the answer to competing claims will be the establishment of a "What's yours is yours and what's mine is mine" treaty. This might ignore the notion of "a common heritage for mankind" but again, Belgium is unlikely to be able to get their cut of the "common heritage". And it is Argentina which is claiming the treaty of Tordesillas as a basis for its non existent claim to the Falklands. They have been wholly successful - no Portuguese claim to the islands has even been murmured.
Victor Bergman
10 months ago
Victor Bergman 10 months ago

The same treaty has also governed either Chile's or Argentina's approach to claiming the Antarctic Peninsula. The approach taken to the Antarctic Treaty would possibly be the best way of dealing with things in space, but no doubt the dollar signs are now flashing. Though it would be less expensive, and safer, to drill the holes I want in Queensland

Dizzy Flores
10 months ago
Dizzy Flores 10 months ago

The Antarctic Peninsular is a shambles. There are overlapping claims and a large number of nations refuse to recognise any existing claims. What would one of the current claimants do if Brazil or India established a base on their slice and garrisoned it, set up naval patrols and started mining steaming coal? Start a war? You have to be kidding.

Now, if the UN had any legitimacy perhaps we could let them run space. Half of member states are either dictatorships or "managed democracies" they made Libya a member of the Human Rights Commission and China, Russia and France have vetoes in the Security council.

It will be a colonial scramble with Terra Nulis an undisputable fact.

And yes, for the cost of mounting a manned visit to site for a 43-101, I could get you producing 15,000 tonnes of copper cathode for 7v years in Chile.

Ace Levy
10 months ago
Ace Levy 10 months ago

US is a signatory to "The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies" (entered into force 10th October 1967) and is the relevant basis of international space law. http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/outer_space

* Exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and shall be free for exploration and use by all the States

* Explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, claiming that they are the common heritage of mankind

* Under Article VI : ""the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty" and that States Parties shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities"

Under Article IX "A State Party to the Treaty which has reason to believe that an activity or experiment planned by another State Party in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, would cause potentially harmful interference with activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, may request consultation concerning the activity or experiment."

It will be interesting to see resolution of the questions of mineral rights (all mankind?), authority to mine (from who?), environmental assessment and conditioning (regulated by who?) and royalties (to all mankind?) The latest status of and signatories to the agreements under the international treaty are located here: http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/limited/c2/AC105_C2_2015_CRP08E.pdf Full text of the Treaty here : http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/gares/ARES_21_2222E.pdf

Alan Carter
10 months ago
Alan Carter 10 months ago

All a US company has to do to get around this treaty is to incorporate a subsidiary in Belize or the Cayman Islands or some other non-signatory country. Russian and Chinese companies will simply ignore the treaty the way they ignore other treaties that are inconvenient to them. Just ask Ukraine.

Zander Barcalow
10 months ago
Zander Barcalow 10 months ago

Re Ukraine. It is a little more complicated than you intimate and is not a case of white hats versus black hats. Treaties all too often get honoured in their breach, by all parties.

Paul Morrow
10 months ago
Paul Morrow 10 months ago

Panama, BVI, Seychelles. Or perhaps Kiribati could register all those space companies and use the proceeds to buy land in places a long way above sea level.