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The industry is pushing for a law on resource extraction in space

The sky is the limit? No way! The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) is calling for a law to regulate mining in space. In fact, the project is already firmly set out in the Coalition Agreement.

11 Jul. 2018
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The industry is pushing for a law on resource extraction in space (Photo: Deutsche Messe AG)

"We will launch a space law to provide investment and legal certainty for private space activities," the Agreement states literally (lines 2636 et seqq.). The Federal Association of German Industry is now pushing for such a law to get underway quickly. A separate chapter is supposed to cover the framework for mining in outer space. This is according to a position paper of the association which has been provided to DIE WELT newspaper. A total of 20 countries, including the US, Russia, Peru, and Mongolia already have such laws. In Germany, on the other hand, there is still legal uncertainty in this respect, which hampered private initiatives for the development of space mining or even stifles it in the bud. There is little doubt about its necessity. The increase of electric cars is listed as an example, which raises the question of how the growing demand for elements such as cobalt and lithium should be covered in the future.

Specifically, the BDI proposes to examine whether car loans or untied financial loans could also be made available for this purpose, according to Die Welt. The law is also intended to define the liability limits of private space travel and to restrict liability limits to a minimum.

It sounds like science fiction, but could become a lucrative market. According to experts, billions of dollars worth of resources lie unutilized in rocks in space, reported chip.de . For example, asteroids have a "very high concentration" of precious metals and rare soil. It is true that no country is allowed to lay claim on celestial bodies. But the civilian use of space is allowed. This is stated in the UN’s Outer Space Treaty , which came into force in 1967.