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Mining Asteroids vs Mining Municipalities

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Anyone seeing ads for mining Deuterium-Tritium on asteroids should look up 'South Sea Bubble'. One of the most common tricks of stock promoters is to offer to get 'the ordinary investor in on the ground floor'. This has two problems - there is no such thing as a 'ground floor', and there is no such thing as an 'ordinary investor'.

What promoters mean by 'ordinary investor' is one that is so small that they can't afford research, probably aren't economically or scientifically literate, and buy securities impulsively. Such people are better described as 'suckers'. Usually victims are people that built fortunes in real estate (either construction or rental properties), are highly paid professionals such as doctors, or have recently inherited a fortune or won a big legal settlement.

One general rule for such promotions is that they are so remote that few people have any prior experience with them, or the time to go there and become familiar with realities on the ground. Mining on asteroids would be a particularly notorious example of this.

Mining is increasingly done by robots. As robots become more sophisticated, they can 'mine' in more complex environments. This eventually leads to something called 'de-manufacturing'.

'De-manufacturing' AA batteries would mean extracting the guts out of the zinc shell and separating the electrolyte and electrode. A crude approach is to simply crush and shred the battery, turning it into an 'ore'. A more 'graceful' approach is to reverse the assembly process, extracting the components in largely the condition they were in when the battery was assembled.

Cars can be put into shredders and reduced to scrap metal. This is harder to do with truck trailer vans, manufactured homes, yachts, construction machinery, railroad locomotives and freight cars, etc. These things are either scrapped with labor intensive processes, or broken up with wrecking balls and largely dumped in landfills. The more 'intelligence' that can be applied to the process, the purer the extracted components.

This is something that an investor could see 'right in front of them' as various eyesores disappear. It doesn't have the 'sizzle' of some far-out space project, but it does have rather immediate, here-and-now benefits. The 'average' investor would be pleased to be living on a cleaner planet in a fully circular economy.

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