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Owning Mineral Rights in Space?

by Elizabeth Alford on December 2, 2015

Looking for your next big mineral investment? You just might want to look up!

Related: Understanding Mineral Law State by State

Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimous passed the 2015 Space Act, which will allow private companies to claim ownership of assets in space. HR2262 opens the door for commercial investing, exploration and recovery of resources in a totally new way including the ability to secure mineral rights outside of earth’s orbit.

This opens up a whole set of complicated problems and it remains to be seen how it might work out. The issues include how to create property rights and what will be the involvement of entrepreneurs. Currently, international law prevents any one country from claiming territory in space, but this new law would allow companies to claim mineral rights, according to MoneyWeek.com

Congressman Posey: “Recognising basic legal protections in space will help pave the way for exciting future commercial space endeavours. Asteroids and other objects in space are excellent potential sources of rare minerals and other resources that can be used to manufacture a range of products here on earth and to support future space exploration missions. Americans willing to invest in space mining operations need legal certainty that they can keep the fruits of their labour and this Bill provides that certainty,” he stated.

The commercial applications are yet to be known, but many believe this is a positive step forward and that the space industries will emerge over time in much the same way as other technologies and American expansion.

“It should surely be possible to own mineral rights, for example, or to allow pioneers to take control of defined territories – much as the American homestead acts of the 19th century encouraged pioneers to open up and develop the West of the United States.”

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