Friday 2nd December 2016

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘moon’

Ever deeper, ever higher

October 11th, 2016

China takes on three mining frontiers, but not without competition

by Greg Klein

This is the first of a two-part feature. See Part 2.

Nearly a century before laggard Europeans got around to their Age of Exploration, Chinese merchant vessels had been travelling at least as far as eastern Africa, returning with vast shiploads of treasure. The voyages ended abruptly in 1433, for reasons debated by historians, and rulers ordered a massive merchant fleet destroyed. That largely left the New World to Westerners, evidently not a policy China intends to repeat. Now the country plans the conquest of three new frontiers: “deep underground, deep sky and deep sea.”

Such are the goals of Three Deep, a five-year plan announced last month by the country’s Ministry of Land and Resources. China’s funding R&D that would take mineral exploration deeper than ever on land and at sea, while exploring from outer space as well. But formidable as they are, the three frontiers aren’t completely uncharted. The expansionist, resource-hungry regime will have competition.

China takes on three mining frontiers, but not without competition

By 2020 the country wants the ability to mine land-based deposits that begin two kilometres in depth, find minerals at three kilometres, and identify oil and gas at 6.5 to 10 kilometres, the South China Morning Post reported October 5. China intends to develop underground communities too, although those details were even more scarce.

China also plans technology for undersea mineral exploration and mining, working towards the ability to send a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to 11 kilometres’ depth by 2020, the paper added. That’s slightly beyond the deepest known point of any seabed. The country has already sent an ROV seven kilometres deep in the Pacific. In the Indian Ocean, Chinese have been studying seabed mining technology on a 10,000-square-kilometre area south of Madagascar, the SCMP stated.

Going from the depths to the heavens, China wants 27 satellites in orbit by 2020 to conduct surveys and research, partly on terrestrial mineral potential. The country also has expressed ambitions for moon and Mars landings, and for sending its citizens into space. A Chinese competitor to SpaceX, One Space Technology, plans its first commercial rocket launch in 2018.

SpaceX, of course, retains its Elon Musk confidence even after the Falcon 9 rocket blew up prior to take-off last month, destroying a $300-million communications satellite. Having received NASA contracts to ferry people and cargo to the International Space Station, Musk continues to talk about sending colonists to Mars. He’s already sent some lithium stocks to the moon.

Probably among the more credible companies talking about mining the heavens are Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries. Both develop technology for NAFTA and both have signed MOUs with Luxembourg that would help finance mineral exploration and mining of near-Earth asteroids. The Grand Duchy, a global leader in satellite communications, has announced its willingness to invest in extra-terrestrial mining to become a world leader in other worlds. The country also plans to create a legal framework for its outer space endeavours, after the U.S. passed legislation giving Americans the right to keep any extra-terrestrial commodities they extract.

Deep Space says it will launch its Prospector X experimental asteroid explorer “in the near future.” By the first half of the next decade, Planetary expects to begin small-scale extraction of asteroid water for its oxygen and hydrogen.

Already a nine-year veteran of the main asteroid belt, NASA’s Dawn craft now orbits the dwarf planet Ceres after having studied the proto-planet Vesta. Last month the space agency’s NASA OSIRIS-REx set off for the asteroid Bennu, with arrival expected in 2018 and return in 2023.

JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, has been to that neighbourhood and back after its Hayabusa craft delivered asteroid samples in 2010.

Last month the European Space Agency ended the 12-year, eight-billion-kilometre odyssey of its Rosetta craft, which spent the last two years studying a comet. In a joint project with Russia’s Roscosmos, the ESA expects to land a capsule on Mars on October 19 to search for signs of previous life.

Russia’s moon exploration program sees potential for minerals delivered by asteroid impact. “In the next few years, all scheduled moon flights will focus on its southern polar region, where low-temperature reservoirs of rare earths, as well as unknown volatile substances, have been detected,” Industrial Minerals quoted Vladislav Shevchenko of Moscow State University. Given higher commodity prices, mining could be viable, he added.

Boeing NYSE:BA recently matched Musk’s big talk as CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke about sending holidayers to orbiting tourist traps prior to linking up with the Red Planet. “I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Bloomberg quoted him last week. As a NASA contractor Boeing competes with SpaceX on its own and through the United Launch Alliance, a JV with Lockheed Martin NYSE:LMT.

This is the first of a two-part feature. See Part 2.

February 24th, 2016

Eric Coffin can see the end of the gold bear market and this is what he is doing about it Streetwise Reports
Canadian gold miners keen to tap equity market as gold price pops NAI 500
Monopoly is going cashless. Could we be next? GoldSeek
Russia scopes out moon-mining of rare earths
Industrial Minerals
“What you don’t realize is…” Public companies clear the record on what you missed Stockhouse
Is the deflation trade over? Equities Canada

February 22nd, 2016

Russia scopes out moon-mining of rare earths Industrial Minerals
Bob Moriarty: Trump candidacy signals a falling empire and a rising resource market Streetwise Reports
“What you don’t realize is…” Public companies clear the record on what you missed Stockhouse
A cash ban has already begun GoldSeek
The robber baron who botched the world’s first oil storage trade NAI 500
Is the deflation trade over? Equities Canada

February 19th, 2016

Russia scopes out moon-mining of rare earths Industrial Minerals
Bob Moriarty: Trump candidacy signals a falling empire and a rising resource market Streetwise Reports
“What you don’t realize is…” Public companies clear the record on what you missed Stockhouse
A cash ban has already begun GoldSeek
The robber baron who botched the world’s first oil storage trade NAI 500
Is the deflation trade over? Equities Canada

NASA begins accepting applications to mine the moon

February 10th, 2014

by Cecilia Jamasmie | February 10, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

NASA begins accepting applications from privates to mine the moon

Early lunar lander design, 1962. (Image: x-ray delta one)

 

In what can be considered a giant leap towards mining minerals from the moon, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has begun accepting applications from potential business partners.

The move, part of a plan unveiled in January, aims to find private financing to help its experts design and build lunar prospecting robots, the first major step required to explore Earth’s natural satellite for valuable resources.

Unlike some loaded business figures who have set up their own space mining endeavours, NASA only counts on a budget set by the U.S. government, which has refused to provide any further funding for the so-called Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative.

In a teleconference late last month, Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s advanced exploration systems, said business partners could support commercial activities on the moon while enabling new science and exploration missions of interest to NASA and the larger scientific and academic communities.

Experts claim space mining is a necessity as many metals that underpin our modern economy are quickly being depleted. Without any new technological advances, metals like zinc and gold are expected to run out in 100 years, they claim.

But the road ahead doesn’t look easy. In fact, a study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics published last month highlights just how problematic this space mining/travelling business could be.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

China to search for rare earths on the moon

December 2nd, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | December 2, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

China to search for rare earths on the moon

China’s first lunar rover mission launches from a site in Xichang carrying a robot called Jade Rabbit.
(Image: Al Jazeera screengrab via YouTube)

 

China has launched its first lunar rover to explore the surface of the moon, hoping—among other objectives—to discover significant deposits of rare earth minerals said to lie under the celestial body’s crust.

With the Jade Rabbit take-off, the Asian country could become the third nation to achieve a soft landing on the moon, after the United States and Russia. The last soft landing on the moon was the unmanned Soviet Luna 24 rover, which collected soil samples in 1976.

“We will strive for our space dream as part of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation,” said Zhang Zhenshong, director of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

The rover’s name—chosen in an online poll of 3.4 million voters—comes from an ancient Chinese myth about a rabbit living on the moon as the pet of the lunar goddess Chang’e.

Interviewed by BBC News, Ouyang Ziyuan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said China is after the potential environment and natural resources the moon holds, as the spacecraft is equipped with ground-penetrating radar to measure the lunar soil and crust.

“The moon is full of resources—mainly rare earth elements, titanium and uranium, which the earth is really short of, and these resources can be used without limitation,” he was quoted as saying.

If this mission is successful, China will send another to gather lunar samples by 2020.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com