Space Mining

Luxembourg government looking for a space "revolution"

Luxembourg is trying to push ahead with a law to regulate space mining.
Luxembourg is trying to push ahead with a law to regulate space mining.
Photo: AFP

The Luxembourg government adopted a draft law on Friday, November 11, looking to give private operators working in space guarantees that they can be confident about their rights to the resources they extract in outer space.

While real space mining activities are yet to be realised, Luxembourg tries to give the legal and regulatory framework ahead of time in accordance with international law.

Private companies should expect legal certainty as to the ownership of minerals, water and other space resources identified on Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids.

Minister of Economy Etienne Schneider (left) and Guest Professor at the University of Luxembourg Jean-Louis Schiltz at the press conference announcing the new draft law.
Minister of Economy Etienne Schneider (left) and Guest Professor at the University of Luxembourg Jean-Louis Schiltz at the press conference announcing the new draft law.
Photo: Guy Jallay

Minister of Economy Schneider stated at a press conference: “The legal framework we put in place is perfectly in line with the Outer Space Treaty.

"Our law does not suggest to either establish or imply in any way sovereignty over a territory or over a celestial body. Only the appropriation of space resources is addressed in the legal framework.”

The government is expecting for the law  to enter into effect in early 2017.

Luxembourg is eager to have a clear legal framework internationally and is therefore advocating for international cooperation in order to progress on a future governance scheme and a global regulatory framework of space resources utilisation.

According to Minister Schneider, negotiations are underway to formalise relationships with around 20 companies and entrepreneurs both from inside and outside of Europe.

In this context, the government is looking to lay down the regulations for the authorisation and the supervision of space resources utilisation missions, including both the exploration and use of such resources.

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