Luxembourg to Back Commercial Asteroid-Mining Ventures – by Robert Wall (Wall Street Journal – February 3, 2016)

http://www.wsj.com/

LONDON—The government of Luxembourg is looking to become Europe’s center for commercial asteroid mining, following U.S. efforts to promote such ventures.

President Barack Obama in late November signed a bill aimed at clearing legal obstacles to asteroid prospecting and exploitation. The new law was welcomed by companies interested in gathering rare metals and other resources in space for profit.

Luxembourg, which has been studying possible involvement in the sector since 2013, is willing to invest in private companies and finance related research and development programs, Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, said in an interview.

The aim is to “open access to a wealth of previously unexplored mineral resources on lifeless rocks [hurtling] through space, without damaging natural habitats,” he said.

The size of the investment budget hasn’t been set, but Mr. Schneider said the government could fund as much as 45% of research and development projects. Luxembourg has previously invested in space activities, including the now publicly traded satellite services company SES.

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