Questions tagged [mining]

The process or industry of obtaining inorganic resources from a location.

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41
votes
3answers
7k views

Is it possible for a mine to contain both gemstones and precious metals?

I have been trying to find an answer to my question for a couple hours now but I haven't had any luck on Google though I might be searching using the wrong terms I'm not sure as I know next to nothing ...
32
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30answers
10k views

What would be the most expensive material to an intergalactic society?

Imagine an intergalactic society that has the following abilities\tech: Warp drive allows trips between stars in days and galaxies in weeks. Able to live in spaceships for long time without health ...
30
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18answers
6k views

Why might a valued mineral be only found on one planet?

According to an answer to a previous question, it would be comparatively impractical to conduct mining on a rocky planet when there are moons, asteroids, comets, etc. that have smaller mass, so much ...
30
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13answers
8k views

Where do mining “dwarves” put all the stone?

Assuming we're on Earth (or something geologically and biologically comparable). Humans are at best in the middle ages, and there's no "magic" or advanced science. Now the difference is, there is ...
26
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9answers
6k views

How to mine the underside of a floating continent?

Background The known world consists of dozens of continents floating in an airy void. These continents range from small islands a few square kilometers in size, to great land masses up to 1,000 ...
21
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8answers
6k views

How do underwater societies develop mining?

You have an underwater civilisation, be they merpeople, octopus people, partially evolved humans or not. One thing that is always considered as a necessity in the development of any society is mining. ...
18
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13answers
4k views

How to decide if a Planet is better off to be Terraformed or Stripmined?

In Science Fiction, when civilizations grow powerful enough to conquer the planet and are in need for room, they turn to the planets in outer space. Obviously, the other planets have very different ...
17
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7answers
4k views

Would asteroid mining be worth the trouble? [duplicate]

My story is set in a somewhat recent period of time(within per say 50 years) The material (raw metal and such) are extracted by splitting the asteroid and then sensors identify which pieces of rock ...
15
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9answers
3k views

Methods and Feasibility of Antimatter Mining?

Say 200-300 years in the future, humankind has colonized much of the solar system, using a combination of laser thermal drives and solid-core nuclear rockets (fusion never really panned out). ...
14
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4answers
460 views

How deep could dwarves actually delve?

Given an arbitrarily long time to do so, what is the maximum depth too which a dwarven civilization could practically extend their mines / cities? And what would be the final limiting factor ...
13
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9answers
6k views

Using a quarry as a water reservoir

Our country, which is located in thousands of km2 of plains, needs a way to store water. Dams are not an option due to the fact that there are no mountains. We have retired mining quarries that are ...
13
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4answers
696 views

Will asteroid mining be economical in foreseeable future?

I see that asteroid mining had already been extensively discussed in the context of today's technology (Ex. Is Asteroid Harvesting economic?) and the answer is a definitive "No" - it's not economical ...
11
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6answers
3k views

What is a good reason not to mine a planetary ring?

Most planetary rings are rich in water in the form of ice, especially now we are running low on freshwater reserves on Earth. Imagine someone discovered a huge chunk of meteorite consisting of a ...
10
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9answers
2k views

What element, if any, would justify mining stars (financially)?

Alright so in my sci-fi a prominent corporation dominated by the Borlak species (Mantis-like Hexapods). The Borlak make their money by mining "dead systems", solar systems without any habitable ...
9
votes
9answers
2k views

How to ensure the safety of a surface base on Europa?

If I have a research & mining outpost established on the surface of Europa, in which there is a small complex of buildings, how do I claim to have them protected from potential breaks in the ice (...
9
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5answers
1k views

How could an alien mine exist under a planet's surface without humans detecting it from above?

Imagine a human observation and research facility being built on a planet in a distant solar system. How could an alien colony exist beneath the planet's surface, staying completely invisible to ...
8
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6answers
1k views

How could a world develop where it was necessary to mine all soil for agricultural use

I want to create a world were soil mining is a major industry. Imagine a vaguely Earth sized world where almost the entire surface of the planet is under, ocean, ice caps or is a hot or cold desert ...
8
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3answers
527 views

What happens to the leftovers from asteroid mining?

I understand that asteroids are very very far apart, but everything I am reading about asteroid mining omits any information about what happens to the waste rock or "tailings" that would presumably be ...
8
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2answers
358 views

Harvesting resources from a geostationary point 100km above sea level

Consider a planet which is entirely Earth-like. Same mass, same rotation, etc. But in this world, resource-rich objects are suspended by some phenomenon at varying altitudes up to 200km above sea ...
7
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10answers
2k views

What benefits would be gained by using human laborers instead of drones in deep sea mining?

In the near future the demand for resources only rises due to both a ever growing population, energy and resource crises, and rampant consumerism. Peak oil has been reached, scarce resources like ...
7
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6answers
676 views

Mining Suns For Terraforming?

In my story, I have a fairly advanced human race who is at the point they want to start terraforming planets. Of course, all of the materials necessary have to come from somewhere, and the proposed ...
7
votes
6answers
498 views

What issues would an AI asteroid mining stations have to be prepared for?

Your company has just been contracted to develop a purpose built AI. The purpose of this AI is to control a mining station that will be anchored within an asteroid belt. The space station will be ...
7
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4answers
369 views

Can reckless idiots wake up a dormant volcano using mining equipment?

My story for a video game has some kind of "enemy" (think "the Others" from Lost—little is known about them; they have control over a small settlement or two and appear to be engaging in some manner ...
6
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6answers
2k views

Is it easier to mine asteroids than planets if teleportation technology exists?

Inspired by comments to JBH's answer to The worlds between, the consequences of instantaneous FTL. The Premise A technology for instantaneous travel exists, making it possible to travel to any point ...
6
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4answers
157 views

Identifying minerals without sight

Properly ventilating a deep mine is a significant engineering challenge. Ergo, you don't want to be carrying around torches that use up some of your precious breathing oxygen if you don't absolutely ...
5
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5answers
634 views

Discovery of advanced titanium alloys by medieval civilization?

Within the backstory of my world, I’m trying to justify the preeminence of a smaller nation as a result of its abilities with metalworking. We’re working under the assumption that this nation happens ...
5
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3answers
220 views

How would iron smelting work in a planet with no oxygen?

Imagine a small planet, rich with iron, but with a negligible atmosphere, mostly devoid of oxygen. Once harvested, how could iron ore be smelted and refined into iron? And would the ore itself be ...
5
votes
3answers
198 views

How much equipment would be needed to set up a mining colony?

Setting: a mining colony on a distant world, exporting rare-earth minerals. As in many space opera stories, the world is a shirtsleeve environment with a reasonably pleasant biosphere. Tech level: I ...
5
votes
3answers
293 views

How can you set up a mine for the lower layers of the gas giants?

So in the story I'm writing, mankind has advanced farther in the next few decades than we have over the past couple thousand years. Colonization has allowed us to settle the planets, and the FTL drive ...
5
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2answers
475 views

Medieval Mining

How might mining rights work in a medieval feudal society? Would individual lords have the right to mine precious metals on their own demesne, or did kings typically have exclusive mining rights? ...
4
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8answers
754 views

What motivation would people have for mining planetary rings?

People have proposed mining the moon for Helium-3 and mining asteroids for gold, iridium, and other precious metals. Suppose we have the means to do so in an economically-viable manner. We've got ...
4
votes
5answers
191 views

What are some examples of minerals that Earth might require in the future from space?

I'm looking to know about minerals that space miners can extract from other planet surfaces or directly from asteroids. Something that Earth as a planet may need in the future.
4
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4answers
366 views

How to extract an object from 200 miles below the surface of the planet Mercury?

In Stephen Baxter’s science fiction Novel Ultima humans discover mysterious “kernels” which allow high speed space propulsion units to be built. The problem is that these kernels are only to be found ...
4
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3answers
258 views

Would a glass chisel be possible?

In a society, where everything is made up of glass, everything would break rather easily. Things like swords and mallets couldn't function in such a world. As to still have something o work with, I ...
4
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2answers
382 views

How long would it take a single person to mine and refine ore necessary to smith with?

So the backstory is I am DM-ing a 5e D&D game for my players; I have just given them a forge that makes magical items if it uses a certain ore from inside the mine it is in. They have 1 dwarf who ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

Could rare earth (REE) strata form as magmatic cumulates?

I'm building a mining colony world with large mine-able deposits of rare earth elements (REEs). One source of REEs on Earth is alkaline carbonitite magma. On Earth, I believe, it is thought to be ...
4
votes
1answer
271 views

Mining Metallic Hydrogen

The Hegemony is in need of superconductors for their fleets of stratospheric craft (stratocraft for short) as well as many, many, many other applications. I recently read metallic hydrogen is a ...
4
votes
2answers
261 views

Strip Mining Deimos, is it worth it?

In Warlords Mars was once home to a thriving mining business, until Prometheus cracked open Deimos that is. Now the mines have either been closed or have scaled down dramatically leading to mass ...
3
votes
8answers
510 views

How would juvenile humans with few tools start mining? Or is there a reasonable substitute for metals?

My story is about a ship run by AIs that carries zygotes and sperm/eggs. The AI's find a planet, test it and start making babies in artificial wombs. Juveniles are tested and rejects are used as the ...
3
votes
2answers
219 views

How do you get steel outside Earth?

I'm looking for a more economical and efficient method of making steel for my project Death Star Unlimited, a mega infrastructure orbiting Mars with a mass of 500,000,000 metric ton give or take 1%. ...
3
votes
3answers
139 views

What would make people choose open-pit quarrying instead of tunnel mining? [closed]

I want to describe a mining town, but I envision the tunnel-type of mine, not an open quarry. All the stones/minerals that fits with the world, however, seem to have been typically extracted from open ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

What happens to asteroids when heated into a plasma?

I'm looking to build a scientifically plausible mining laser for my science fiction setting. The first approach that came to mind was a high-power laser that heats the surface asteroid until it ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

Most cost effective way of mining a giant cube tungsten

A cube of pure tungsten, 1000 feet wide on each side, sits flat in the middle of a grassy field on Earth. The owner of the field wishes to sell the tungsten. What is the most cost effective method, ...
2
votes
6answers
770 views

What is a hypothetical, profitable way that the core of earth could be mined?

We know that the inner and outer core of our planet is made up of heavy, valuable metals in high concentrations. So, what if a technologically advanced, space-faring civilization wanted to mine those ...
2
votes
3answers
292 views

How would an underground civilization that mines deal with mine tailings?

This is based on the Silo by Hugh Howey. I don't have any spoilers here though. In that book (actually a collection of 5 novels), the characters live in an underground city, and some of them mine for ...
2
votes
4answers
124 views

How would someone actively search for titanium ores or other minerals?

I'm working on a story where the main character has to search for titanium (or rather ores containing titanium) in order to repair the hull of a ship. She's on a habitable world that's essentially a ...
2
votes
3answers
113 views

Logistics of how to mine an asteroid [duplicate]

How would one go about mining an asteroid in a broad sense? This question not in the mining itself, but location of the mining. Say you have located an asteroid in that would like to mine. Which ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Extracting all water from Ganymede?

Is it theoretically possible to extract all ice and water from moons with subsurface oceans like Ganymede or Enceladus? What would the consequences of isostatic rebounding be if this was done on a ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

At what rate would this renaissance-esqe mining operation proceed?

There is a group of people with about renaissance-level technology clearing out underground granite. They have no access to work animals. 700 men are working at any given time. Mining Using ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

What effects would large-scale hydraulic mining have on the landscape?

Premise/question Hydraulic mining is the process of spraying high-pressure jets of water into the ground to dislodge sediment and rocks. The muddy water from this is directed into sluices where ...