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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What is the possibility that asteroid mining could tank the value of most precious metals?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24540points) March 19th, 2023

Like gold, and platinum?
Also what would the timeline be?

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16 Answers

Dig_Dug's avatar

How often do asteroids fly by and can we land on them with mining equipment to mine them? I think the odds are a bit low, may be something like slim to none?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Dig_Dug Some business are interested in mining metals from asteroids in the asteroid belt. Sorry that I don’t have a link. It was in the news a year ago.

Also we are thinking of mining Helium 3 from the moon in the next 10 years or so.

Dig_Dug's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 The moon may be doable. Asteroid belt, ah, I forgot about that. lol Are there precious minerals on/in them?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Dig_Dug The news said that the asteroids have enough precious metals to devalue them to near zero. By eliminating scarcity for metals. Could screw up commodities, and currency markets.

NoMore's avatar

Fly me to the moon yeah just shoot me to stars, iet me me see what gold there is on Jupiter and Mars…

Entropy's avatar

Zilch. By the time we could do this and have it be economical, we would have had to have expanded to a point where the demand for minerals would be so high that this wouldn’t ‘crash’ their prices, just bring them down from the stratosphere. It’s not the supply of them in the solar system, it’s doing the work and extracting enough to justify the cost.

This is not a thing that will be economical for a long time.

Mining the moon is a bit more realistic because you’re talking about one destination where you have a massive front loaded cost, but then can stay there basically forever and repeat at much lower sustainment costs.

But even that, until you get fusion going (which is why it might become worthwhile) the demand wouldn’t justify the cost. And I personally think commercially viable fusion is MINIMUM a half century away. I’m a hugely pro-fusion guy, but I’m routinely annoyed by PR people overstating how close we are.

So don’t hold your breath even on mining the moon, IMHO.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Timeline? Long after we are all in the ground.

kritiper's avatar

Not likely. Too expensive to find valuable ore, mine it, and return it to Earth. You’d have better luck at less expense by prospecting and mining on the moon.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@kritiper Right now, it’s eventually going to be dirt cheap to mine asteroids robotically.

flutherother's avatar

Even if there was a nearbye asteroid littered with lumps of gold I don’t think it would be economically feasible to ship it back to earth.

KRD's avatar

It would be vary hard to because it requires a lot of resources to do something like that

ragingloli's avatar

The cost of mining would itself be quite high, not only because of all the equipment and people that would have to be heaved into space and to the asteroid belt, but also because of the months long travel times involved, and considerably longer than that if you want to mine the Oort cloud.
It could only become financially viable, if any easy to get to gold reserves are depleted, and you have to choose between drilling into the mantle, or going to space. And at that point, gold would be vastly more expensive than today.

kritiper's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Now or later, it will be expensive to return the ore to Earth.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@kritiper I’m telling you, it’s eventually going to be cheap.

RocketGuy's avatar

As @kritiper says, it will cost an arm and a leg to get them down to Earth. More likely, asteroid mining will be used to reduce cost of in-space manufacturing for things staying in space.

kritiper's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Hey it’s not like every single solitary asteroid is solid gold, platinum, or silver. Good luck with your investments in that area!

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