As Earthen Mines Run Dry, Could Space Represent The Next Mining Rush?

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December 28, 2016 7:31am NYSE:PPLT

From Brad Hoppmann: There’s gold in them thar… asteroids? Yes, and a whole lot of it! According to website Asterank, one 90-foot-wide platinum asteroid is worth about $50 billion.


OK, so that’s not technically gold. But $50 billion will buy you a whole lot of bullion.

That estimate is all part of a new, high-tech plan by entrepreneurs who want to go waaaaaay out there in search of big profits.

According to a story at NBCnews.com titled, “The Next Frontier: Space Miners are the Universe’s Future Tycoons,” not only do many asteroids offer the promise of all kinds of mineable metals (including so-called rare earth metals and precious metals) …

But they also have the ability to keep humans in space via fuel production.

Per the story:

…today’s space mining entrepreneurs are intent on turning asteroids into figurative gas stations. The ubiquitous space rocks are commonly home to water ice — or hydrogen and oxygen, the building blocks of rocket fuel.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s time to start scrambling for ways to bet on Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic or even Google’s space initiatives … not right this second, anyway.

But it does mean that final-frontier filling stations in the vast reaches of space might have just moved lightyears closer to reality …

And this opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for “space nerds” and, ultimately, for investors.

With an easily refilled gas tank, future spacecraft will be free of the usual time and planning restrictions. Suddenly the whole galaxy is the scenic route.According to the NBC story, space mining could render normal the notion of interstellar travel.

That’s a creative concept to ponder. And it’s the kind of thinking that makes humans such beautiful creatures … despite our well-known flaws.

The NBC story goes on to report that the future of space mining isn’t just a techie pipe dream.

In fact, the whole world is paying attention at the highest political levels.

Per the story:

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 asserts that no country can claim ownership over an asteroid, planet or other heavenly body. But President Barack Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act in November 2015 specifically to make it legal for American space mining companies to pursue their goals (the Act protects these companies and others from regulatory oversight until Oct. 1, 2023 — the tone is perhaps, “Do what you have to do to make this work, then we’ll worry about making it safe”).

I recall reading about this Act last year. But given our recent look at all things gold and mining in last week’s Afternoon Editions, the space mining story brought it back to the front of my mind.

 

Already, there have been moves by countries and companies to spend money on space mining operations.

The Luxembourg government recently launched a $227 million fund to invest in space mining companies that set up operations within the country’s borders.

That laying of the fiscal groundwork has already got the attention of American space mining companies Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries.

Here’s what Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki told NBC:

“If we want to keep building communities and raising families, at some point we outgrow the earth… We’ve left the planet before — it’s something we know how to do, something the government has spent money on. The challenge for companies operating in this space is how to do it more cost-effectively, and how to do it for commerce instead of science.”

If companies such as Planetary Resources and others can mine the solar system, then they could be in a position to extract literal gold from rocks … and to put up huge profit numbers in the process. Commerce is the key.

And while the investable opportunities here aren’t yet sufficiently developed, for a “space nerd” like me the future possibilities are both intriguing — and potentially wealth-enhancing.

The ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSE:PPLT) was unchanged in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, PPLT has gained 0.98%, versus a 12.14% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

PPLT currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of D (Sell), and is ranked #13 of 29 ETFs in the Precious Metals ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Uncommon Wisdom Daily.


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