If asteroid mining does emerge as a viable industry, there will need to be mechanisms for recognizing claims and financing the extraction of resources. (credit: Planetary Resources)

The asteroid mining bank

by Vidvuds Beldavs
Monday, January 28, 2013

Now that Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources have declared their intentions to mine the asteroids, methods will need to be developed to establish and record precedence and ownership of claims to asteroid resources. Why is this important? If company A assays an asteroid, it would be in this company’s interests that the investment it makes to determine the value of the asteroid would yield it some rights over latecomers that may also want to exploit the same resource, perhaps not even acknowledging the prior discovery. Just as gold claims were registered and ownership established in the gold fields of California in 1849, a system needs to be developed to solve a similar problem in interplanetary space. This creates the opportunity to not only establish a method of recording claims, but also to establish a bank that can finance actual resource recovery.

Mining claims are recorded as a form of ownership record. The owner of the claim can mine the claim or license the mining of the claim to someone else. Mining claims were first recorded during the California Gold Rush of 1849 and were based on Mexican mining law, which gave the right to mine to the first one to discover the mineral deposit and begin mining it.

Read more: The Space Review: The asteroid mining bank.

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