Industry Trend Analysis - Mining Final Frontiers: Introduction - DEC 2017
BMI View: Riskier mining projects will increasingly gain commercial viability in the coming decades as mineral prices rise and traditional reserves are depleted . Pioneers with the technological know-how and capital to mine t he final frontiers, namely the A rtic, deep sea and space, will hold a significant advantage as first movers in these fields for a time to come.
In this special report, we analyse the trends in mining the final frontiers, namely Arctic, deep sea and space that will increasingly gain popularity in the coming decades. As traditional and known reserves start to deplete and ore grades fall, rising mineral prices will enable riskier projects to gain commercial viability, significantly rewarding pioneers with the technological know-how and capital. These first movers will drive progress and dominate competitive landscapes initially, whilst others move to follow in their footsteps.
Arctic mining is thus far the most developed venture of the three (occurring mostly in Canada, Russia and the United States), followed by the first deep sea mining expedition to start in 2019 (off the coast of Papua New Guinea by Canadian miner Nautilus Minerals) and asteroid mining exploration to start shortly after between 2019-2020 (through Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources). Lack of proper regulation will facilitate deep sea mining while posing uncertainty in space mining, whereas Arctic mining is regulated with clear jurisdictions with a few exceptions that risk increasing geopolitical tension. Government support and funding will remain crucial for mining the final frontiers, of which deep sea and Arctic are highly controversial on environmental grounds. In this report, we highlight:
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