Canada’s mining sector brainstorms lunar resource extraction (Equipment Journal – June 5, 2023)


The unique skill sets of Canada’s mining industry may someday help propel space exploration beyond the Earth’s moon. Recently, the Sudbury, Ontario-based Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) hosted a webinar to explain the opportunity and challenges in extracting resources on the moon.

“Mining and mineral resource exploration and taking advantage of resources on the moon is going to happen for sure in the very short term,” said Chamirai Nyabeze, Vice President of Business Development and Commercialization at CEMI.

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Asteroid mining startup AstroForge readies first mission – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 13, 2023)

AstroForge, a startup with plans to mine asteroids, is getting ready to launch the first of its two missions on Friday, of which the main objective is to test the firm’s technique for refining platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material.

The startup has placed a payload on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, pre-packed with elements similar to those found in asteroids. Working in Earth’s orbit, the OrbAstro-built cubesat will attempt to vaporize and sort the materials into their elemental components.

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Sudbury researchers begin to tackle mining on the moon – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – April 4, 2023)

Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation gauging level of interest from miners and bankers in lunar investment

A mining area formed by an impact from space could now have an impact on how resources are extracted in space. Scientists seem a bit divided on whether it was a comet or meteorite that accounts for the Sudbury basin, but folks at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation are pretty confident that local companies can contribute expertise and eventually investment capital to the harvesting of materials on the moon and other balls of extraterrestrial rock.

The centre, headquartered on Maley Drive, recently distributed a survey among the “mining investment ecosystem” — a field that ranges from prospectors and exploration outfits to banks and major miners — to gauge their level of interest in lunar investment.

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ARE WE FINALLY ON THE CUSP OF COMMERCIAL ASTEROID MINING? – by Jamie Carter (Sky and Telescope – February 27, 2023)

Asteroid mining is back in the news. In January, California-based startup AstroForge announced that in 2023 it will lay the foundations to become the first commercial company to mine an asteroid and bring the materials back to Earth. Two missions launching in April and October 2023, both on SpaceX rockets, will test technology and survey a target asteroid.

It’s an exciting proposition, but haven’t we heard all of this before? Over the years, similarly ambitious companies have claimed to be on the cusp of the impossible, among them Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, neither of whom could ultimately finance their plans. What makes AstroForge different?

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Scientists want to produce cosmic mineral to replace REEs in industrial magnets – by Staff ( – October 23, 2022)

Engineers at Northeastern University have patented a process to accelerate the production of a mineral known as tetrataenite, whose magnetic properties make it a leading candidate to replace magnets made of rare earths.

Tetrataenite is not found in nature—at least, not on earth. It is only found in meteorites. This means that making the cosmic mineral requires manipulating the atomic structures of its iron and nickel components by arranging them into a crystal structure that resembles tetrataenite, thus speeding up a natural process that would take millions of years on our planet.

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Martian moon could be crucial for asteroid mining – by Staff ( – June 21, 2022)

Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have shown that mining the Main Belt of asteroids that orbit between Mars and Jupiter could be done profitably if spacecraft were deployed from a station in an orbit similar to that of the Martian moon Phobos.

In a paper published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, astronomers Martin Elvis, Jonathan McDowell, and past Harvard undergraduate Anthony Taylor, explain that even though space mining will likely start with near-earth objects (NEOs) or asteroids whose paths cross the earth’s orbital path, it will eventually start looking at the Main Belt of asteroids, as it contains about 10,000 times more resources than NEOs.

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Sudbury: Laurentian Lunars named finalists in Over the Dusty Moon challenge (CBC News Sudbury – February 14, 2022)

Team hopes to present idea at Colorado School of Mines later this year

A group of Laurentian University students in Sudbury, Ont., are finalists in a competition organized by the Colorado School of Mines. The Over the Dusty Moon challenge involved teams to design and build a “regolith transport solution for the moon.” In other words, they want students to find a way to move moon rocks.

“Lunar regolith is an important feedstock for construction, mineral processing and other ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) activities,” the university stated.

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Scientists working on autonomous swarms of robots to mine the Moon – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 13, 2021)

Plans to start mining the Moon as early as 2025 have received a boost, with NASA granting a research team from the University of Arizona $500,000 to develop a swarm of robots able to mine, excavate and even build simple structures on the surface of our world’s natural satellite.

The robots, to be constructed and trained on Earth, will at first receive instructions from operators on this planet, but the goal is to make them fully autonomous, the university said.

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It’s been 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 16 astronauts walked on Sudbury – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – July 9, 2021)

They were here to train for their moon mission

This summer marks 50 years since NASA dispatched the Apollo 16 astronauts to Sudbury for field training ahead of their trip to the moon. Commander John Young and pilot Charles Duke, whose spacecraft would launch from Cape Canaveral less than a year later on April 16, 1972, teamed up with experts from Inco to study Sudbury’s impact crater and its unique geological structures.

NASA hoped that the field training, which took place from July 7 to 9, 1971, would prepare the astronauts for lunar surface experiments. It turns out, the excursion didn’t prepare them as much as they’d hoped.

“We were very interested, at the time, in trying to work up the geology of the moon. The great debate in the literature prior to our first moon landing was how much of the moon was formed by volcanic activity and how much of it was formed by impact structures,” said Michael Dence.

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Space mining is not science fiction, and Canada could figure prominently – by Elizabeth Steyn (The Conversation – April 4, 2021)

In this era of climate crisis, space mining is a topic of increasing relevance. The need for a net-zero carbon economy requires a surge in the supply of non-renewable natural resources such as battery metals. This forms the background to a new space race involving nations and the private sector.

Canada is a space-faring nation, a world leader in mining and a major player in the global carbon economy. It’s therefore well-positioned to actively participate in the emerging space resources domain.

But the issues arising in this sphere are bigger than Canada, since they involve the future of mankind — on Earth and in space.

Battery metals in hot demand

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Space mining is critical for terrestrial mining, here’s why – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – March 18, 2021)

(Kitco News) Space mining and terrestrial mining have a lot in common and the latest developments in the space mining industry offer lucrative opportunities to terrestrial miners that shouldn’t be overlooked, according to one industry expert.

NASA has been pouring millions of dollars into early-stage research and development projects, which the mining industry has been neglecting, Deltion Innovations CEO Dale Boucher told Kitco News.

“There’s an awful lot of money being thrown into very early-stage R&D that is specific to space mining. For example, the Canadian space agency spent millions of dollars to figure out very small drilling tools,” Boucher said.

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Western profs to explore laws and regulations for mining in outer space (CBC News London – February 7, 2021)

A new project spearheaded by two Western University professors aims to address the gaps in regulation surrounding space mining — and what this will mean for countries and companies that have their eye on the field.

The increasing demand for non-renewable natural resources has garnered deep interest by many countries worldwide to the possibility of harvesting resources from outer space.

Western University law professors Valerie Oosterveld and Elizabeth Steyn launched a research project to look into the laws governing space mining and whether or not international environmental law can be help address the lack of regulation in the emerging field.

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Experts warn of brewing space mining war among US, China and Russia – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 2, 2021)

A brewing war to set a mining base in space is likely to see China and Russia joining forces to keep the US increasing attempts to dominate extra-terrestrial commerce at bay, experts warn.

The Trump Administration took an active interest in space, announcing that America would return astronauts to the moon by 2024 and creating the Space Force as the newest branch of the US military.

It also proposed global legal framework for mining on the moon, called the Artemis Accords, encouraging citizens to mine the Earth’s natural satellite and other celestial bodies with commercial purposes.

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Microbes Can Mine Valuable Elements From Rocks in Space – by George Dvorsky ( – November 11, 2020)

Recent experiments aboard the International Space Station have shown that some microbes can harvest valuable rare-earth elements from rocks, even when exposed to microgravity conditions. The unexpected finding shows how microbes could boost our ability to live and work in space.

On Earth, some microscopic organisms have shown their worth as effective miners, extracting rare-earth elements (REEs) from rocks. New experimental evidence published today in Nature Communications shows that, when it comes to leaching REEs from rocks, at least one strain of bacteria is largely unaffected by microgravity and low-gravity conditions.

This is potentially good news for future space explorers, as biomining microbes could provide a means for acquiring REEs while in space, on the Moon, or on Mars.

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China to launch first space mining robot in November – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – September 28, 2020)

(Kitco News) Chinese company Origin Space is scheduled to launch the world’s first asteroid mining robot in November. But no actual mining will be done on the mission as the goal is to test the equipment.

The Beijing-based private company plans to launch NEO-1, a 30-kg satellite, via a Chinese Long March series rocket as a secondary payload, reported U.S. science magazine IEEE Spectrum.

“The goal is to verify and demonstrate multiple functions such as spacecraft orbital maneuver, simulated small celestial body capture, intelligent spacecraft identification and control,” Yu Tianhong, co-founder of Origin Space, told the magazine.

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