As the mining industry continues to expand it is always looking to the next frontier. At the moment, the new hot ticket is Mongolia and the Central Asian Republics (CARs) such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and even Afghanistan, which is already starting to draw the mining industry across to the war torn nation’s completely untapped potential.
Discussions about nuclear power and the debate about whether to export or enrich uranium here has hotted up. Exploded, even. Nuclear energy makes people nervous, and rightly so. It can potentially be very dangerous. But it could also have some benefits for Australia. So where can we go next, where will mining end up?
What about mining in outer space. From one end of the earth to other, you can already find miners hard at work. Even far out at sea, you’ll find drillers working away both above and below the surface of the water, so expanding the horizons into space is simply a natural progression. And with new minerals ready to be found floating in its outer reaches; minerals with unknown potential; it is definitely an exciting time to be in mining. Just recently scientists discovered the never before seen mineral Wassonite.
A number of US and Indian firms are looking at potentially mining on the moon, with MIT reporting that there is set to be a race to secure Helium-3 from the satellite. There is also set to be a run to mine asteroids and even work on comets. One can only imagine the strict site safety laws that will have to be in place while working on a relatively small rock hurtling through space at thousands of kilometres per hour.
Movies and television have already portrayed what mining in space will be like, and it is fairly varied to say the least. Avatar showing miners in a fairly horrible light to Aliens showing them being decimated, the future does not look too bright. Fortunately, it’s unlikely to be like either of these. One thing is certain; mining in space would make FIFO more interesting.