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sean
 
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Asteroid Mining- too far fetched?

17 May 2012, 13:51
At one time South Africa produced 97% of the world's platinum,nowadays is just above the 80% mark which is still a significant amount. There had been talk recently by the mining industry in South Africa to venture a little further out into outer space actually, in looking for this metal which is platinum. How,where and why exactly?      The concept is called "mining asteroids in the sky". The Bushveld Complex in South Africa is where our platinum is found. Its a layered complex that is 200 miles wide north to south and 300 miles wide from east to west. On the other hand,there is one very large giant asteroid planet infact in our Solar System where mining for platinum would surpass the amounts that are found in the Bushveld Region and that is Vesta,which is a protoplanet and which is 326 miles wide. Does it contain enough ore deposits to market such a venture even worth considering? Not really to be honest.     Planet Resources says:"We are all for mining the asteroids as opposed to destroying the Earth, but there are far greater resources of platinum in layered igneous complexes right here on Earth that have been mined for the last 60 years."      Then there are other pressing issues. Whether or not these nickel iron asteroids or stony irons as its called, have been enriched in layers or whether these metals are even evenly disseminated throughout the asteroids is what causes the concern. If they were evenly disseminated, then that raises the cost of such platinum extractions.     The Bushveld complex is roughly 2 billion years old and has enough platinum left in it to be mined for the next 120 years or so. It is a very large layered igneous complex of peridotites, pyroxenites and norites which makes up part and parcel of the platinum group of metals. This mantle rock surface had been crystallized over a period of more than 100 million years into a gigantic underground chamber and the magmatic differentiation has made it into this layered complex that we find today. On top of all this is what the geologist say "the olivine rich dunites and pyroxenites at base level all the way up to where granites and felsites are at the top is over 5 mile thick". Its also where others in the platinum group of metals are situated like chrome, vanadium,titanium and iron ore magnetite.     So our solar system consists of much more than just the sun, nine planets, and their moons. We have comets which are a conglomerates of ice and dust,we have asteroids which are small or minor planets(to be mined or not to be mined)and then there are meteoroids which really are mostly fragments of asteroids. All these orbit within the solar system. Quite something it it not.    You can say that we live in a cluttered neighborhood.Thank goodness for our atmosphere and Earth ability to recycle itself we have enough minerals in the planet,especially South Africa that have $2.3 trillion worth of reserves, to last a long while still. Maybe its best to remain "down to earth" instead of venturing into new heights looking for platinum in asteroids.        References:   1.www.opednews.com/.../Pie-in-the- Sky-Platinum-Idea.   2.Mike Wall from SPACE.com.   3. newsdesk@miningweekly.com.

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