Minerals have been left in limbo after the Federal Government scrapped plans for the first round of asteroid mining.
Key points:Asteroids are still in the planning stages but the Government has confirmed they will start mining in 2019The Government is now aiming to have an estimated $US1.3 billion worth of asteroid minerals by 2019A number of companies are already making plans to mine the minerals, which are believed to be worth millions of dollars.
The government said in a statement that it had “pushed ahead with the first stage of asteroid exploration, which will be a major milestone in the exploration of space”.
The announcement comes as the Federal Budget forecast the industry would become “much more efficient” in the coming years.
In 2018, the Federal Department of the Environment said it had already invested $1.1 billion into the Federal Strategic Resources Fund, which was intended to invest in the mining sector.
“As well as the investment announced today, the Department has also made a further $1 billion commitment to the Department’s Strategic Resources Program over the next five years,” it said.
“The Federal Government is committed to funding the industry to the extent it is able to, while ensuring the continued success of the industry.”
But mining is currently at the very early stages of development, and the Federal Environment Minister, Scott Morrison, said he had not been able to confirm whether any companies were currently planning to mine asteroids.
“There are no specific announcements to make on the prospect of the Federal mining industry, but the Federal Minister has indicated that the Government will not be pursuing an investment in the industry,” he said.
Mr Morrison said the Government would “continue to monitor the prospects for the Federal Mining Industry”.
“The industry has a long way to go, but I will continue to monitor it to ensure that we’re investing in it as much as possible,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“I don’t want to be complacent and I certainly don’t expect to be the last person to say that, but we will make sure that we keep an eye on it.”
This is not something we’re going to rush into and we don’t anticipate that it’s going to be in 2019.
“In January 2018, Australia’s National Astronomical Observatories (NAO) announced it had discovered a new type of asteroid in the southern Indian Ocean.
The NAO said the asteroid was named ‘Pangolins’.
It is the largest and most massive object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Its discovery was a major breakthrough for the country, and has sparked a $US300 million fund for the exploration and mining of asteroids.
The announcement came after the Government announced in December that it was spending an additional $US700 million to develop the first-ever asteroid mining project in New South Wales.
A total of six asteroids have been found in the outer solar system so far, with four discovered in the past 12 months.
The Government’s announcement comes just days after the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that the nation’s population had grown by almost 11 per cent in the 12 months to June, rising by more than 8 million people.