Space mining could soon become a reality and will likely yield trillions in mineral wealth. Asteroids lying in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars hold minerals suspected to have a value equivalent to as much as one hundred billion dollars for every person on Earth. The technology needed to land on these asteroids is also quickly evolving. However, according to experts, legal uncertainties regarding ownership of resources found in space could complicate plans for space mining operations.
With the December 12, 2015 adoption of the Paris Climate Accord by nearly all the world's nations, there is now a concerted effort being made globally to mitigate the production of greenhouse gases (GHG) and to address the problem of climate change by limiting global temperature rise to less than 2° Celsius this century.
The Presidential Executive Order on a “Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals,” issued on December 20, 2017, was a major step taken to decrease the dependency of the United States on imports of critical materials from foreign countries. During the 1950s, the U.S. depended on foreign imports for eight important minerals. Today, that number has grown to 20 minerals, plus the all-important 17 rare earth elements, most of which are imported to from China.
In an effort to deliver on their promised declaration to “make America great again,” the Trump administration has taken initiatives that they assert will protect national security, guarantee the United States' self-sufficiency and decrease the country's dependence on critical materials sourced from foreign countries. These were the reasons offered for imposing the recent tariffs on steel and aluminum and now, also, the government opening up 1.3 million acres of California's desert land to commercial mining as of March 9, 2018.
As reported in the March 7, 2018 Wall Street Journal, some steel and aluminum manufacturers in the U.S., including United States Steel Corporation and Century Aluminum Company, are restarting previously idle mills in response to the United States' new 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% tariff on imported aluminum. Century, America's second-largest producer of primary aluminum, announced that it will be restarting a previously idle Kentucky smelter, thereby doubling its current 300 member workforce. U.S. Steel has plans to boost their capacity by restarting their Granite City, Illinois blast furnace, calling back 500 workers who were previously furloughed.
Cobalt, a blue-gray metallic element, atomic number 27 on the periodic table of elements, is utilized in a variety of everyday applications such as producing alloys used manufacturing jet engines. It's used in making magnetic steel, in electroplating, and in manufacturing certain types of stainless steel. Radioactive cobalt-60 is used in medicine for treating some cancers.
Until recently, cobalt has been somewhat of a sleeper on the commodities market. It was much less in the news than other metals such as gold, silver, and copper, but that's changing. Cobalt is a prime ingredient in the making of lithium-ion batteries, used in the manufacture of mobile phones, with Apple Inc., a leader in the mobile phone industry, being one of the world's largest end users.
January 2018 saw three unique Moon phenomena occurring all in one day - a Blue Moon (second full moon within a single calendar month), a Super Moon, which is when the Moon comes closest to the Earth while traveling in its elliptical orbit, and a total lunar eclipse. All three happened on the last day of the month.
Exploration is the lifeblood of the mining industry. While difficult, labor-intensive and expensive, exploration is absolutely necessary to the advancement of the industry. Exploration is to mining what research and development are to pharmaceutical companies -- without these processes, progress would come to a halt.
There's no escaping the fact that electric vehicles ( EVs), are garnering tremendous attention in the transportation industry. Tesla, Elon Musk's pioneering company and leading manufacturer of electrically-powered cars, has just recently come out with their most affordable car yet, the Model 3 sedan, with a sales price of about $35,000. Tesla plans to manufacture 20,000 Model 3 vehicles per month starting in 2018.