Asteroid Mining

From today’s news:

Google cofounder Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with director James Cameron, have founded a new company: Planetary Resources Inc.

It’s mission: mine asteroids, “add trillions of dollars to the global GDP” and “help ensure humanity’s prosperity.”

Ok here’s my take on this.

Mining asteroids:
Let’s say they succeed and find a movable rock that has a gazillion tons of nickel (or copper) and manage to park in one of the Lagrange points near Earth.
And are able to set up robotic (or drone) mining and smelting facilities to get the ore turned into metal.
Getting it down to Earth is relatively easy – it’s downhill all the way after all.

What’s the result of all this?
Well – the world price for Nickel (or Copper) will plummet because the supply in the sky will be much cheaper to exploit.
IF it wasn’t cheaper than there would be no fiscal sense to doing this.
So that means the terrestrial-based mining and smelting sectors for whatever they find will eventually be killed off. OR severely shrunken.

You might think: So what? Some rich guys take a beating?
Tamper with the wrong industry in the wrong way and we ALL suffer for it. Pension funds are major investors and many of us have a pension somewhere.
Industries are the engines that make national economies go. Knock out enough economic underpinning and nations start to slide.

I’m all for asteroid mining. I just think we should be prepared for the changes this will cause …

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