Luxembourg Looks To Dominate Trillion Dollar Asteroid Mining Industry

Space mining
The space mining business
(Photo: Twitter)

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of Europe's tiniest but richest countries, will launch the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) on Sept. 12 as part of its grand plan to dominate the nascent asteroid mining industry that will eventually be worth more than all the wealth in the world.

Experts calculate a single asteroid can possess some $95.8 trillion in mineral wealth -- an amount larger than the combined GDP of all the countries in the world.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider, the champion of Luxembourg's space mining endeavor, said the goal of LSA is to further promote the economic development of the country's space industry. This goal will also involve attracting businesses, developing talents, providing innovative financial solutions and supporting academic and research infrastructure.

LSA's main mission will be to accelerate the evolution of innovation-driven business in space. This campaign will eventually result in Luxembourg becoming Europe's center for space mining, which is also called asteroid mining.

Luxembourg is perhaps the only country in the world with a "space economy." It said its space economy generated nearly two percent of national GDP, one of the highest ratios in Europe.

The latest step taken by the Ministry of the Economy to boost the country's space economy was the launch in 2016 of the SpaceResources.lu initiative. This program intends to position Luxembourg as a pioneer in the exploration and utilization of space resources, which is a necessary step towards a future in-space economy. It will do this by providing a legal, regulatory and business environment for investors and companies to explore and use resources collected in space in collaboration with Luxembourg.

Schneider said the establishment of the LSA is a logical next step in achieving the country's vision to create an innovative can-do environment for space entrepreneurs. LSA is driving the SpaceResources.lu initiative and will manage all national space programmes and the relations with ESA. Schneider has been at the forefront of Luxembourg's campaign to grow its space economy.

Unlike NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), LSA won't build rockets; organize a space program or send satellites into space. Its purpose is to accelerate Luxembourg's collaboration with space sector business firms, investors and other partners.  The main commercial goal of Luxembourg's collaborative effort will be to boost the exploration and commercial utilization of resources from near-Earth objects, among which are asteroids laden with precious metals such as platinum and titanium.

In 2017, NASA said it was planning a mission to an asteroid called 16 Psyche, which consists of almost pure iron and nickel and could be worth an unimaginable $10,000 quadrillion. One study estimated the mineral wealth in the top five most potentially profitable asteroids will yield a profit of some $10.4 trillion.

© 2018 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.