Luxembourg announced on Wednesday its plans to become a big player in the space mining industry. The European country aims to mine minerals from asteroids, as part of its quest to be a hub for exploration and use of space resources.

The government aims to create access to space mineral resources that have not been explored yet, while ensuring that there will be no damage, says Étienne Schneider, the country's deputy prime minister and minister of the economy.

The first thing Luxembourg is eyeing to do is research.

"Our aim is to carry out research in this area, which at a later stage can lead to more concrete activities in space," says Schneider.

Legal Regulatory Steps

Luxembourg plans to create a legal and regulatory framework that will address the issues of future ownership of minerals obtained from space such as asteroids.

Luxembourg is the first nation in Europe to express a plan of developing a formal legal framework. Such plan guarantees the confidence of private space sectors in determining their rights to ownership.

The government will develop the framework in accordance with the international law. It is also willing to collaborate with other nations to create a possible multilateral framework.

Economic Growth

The country will also spend money on research and development projects and look into possible direct capital investments in firms that work on this industry.

For this reason, the government is all out in enhancing a brand new space industry in Luxembourg. Such industry will provide remarkable access to minerals that can be used on Earth and beyond.

The objective is to boost economic growth while exploring space.

The funds for this project will be part of the national space budget, which will most likely be released in December 2016.

Former ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain says this project is a testament to Europeans being indeed risk takers and innovative. He adds that although the mission is futuristic, its basis is solid.

Luxembourg has already made its presence known in other related industries. The satellite operator SES was built in the country three decades ago and is now a significant global contributor to the field.

Photo : Day Donaldson | Flickr

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