95 votes
Accepted

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

Sure. Gems such as diamonds, corundums (ruby and sapphire) come from igneous sources. It's possible that one could have a diamondiferous kimberlite blast through a gold or silver ore-bearing ...
Keith Morrison's user avatar
91 votes

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

Moving away from a pure element (covered by other answers) to a material, something that has a special property. Consider something that is made rare by the very presence of your intergalactic ...
K. Morgan's user avatar
  • 3,518
40 votes
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Why might a valued mineral be only found on one planet?

Organic Your mineral could have been deposited millions of years ago by a specific type of organism, class of organisms, or type of biome. For instance, you might have a forest that produces lots of ...
Dent7777's user avatar
  • 2,837
39 votes

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

Why Things Are Valuable Basic economic theory says that a thing will have a higher cost as its demand outpaces its supply. Note that this doesn't actually take rarity into account at all. Rare things ...
D.Spetz's user avatar
  • 2,693
33 votes
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How to mine the underside of a floating continent?

Diving Mining bells suspended from ships Your merchants have access to ships, and probably more so than the other castes. The ships themselves may not be able to go under the floating level, but as ...
Cyrus's user avatar
  • 22.4k
32 votes
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Where do mining "dwarves" put all the stone?

There are several obvious options, and I think three of them follow a roughly chronological progression. Dumping: The earliest option available. Rubbish heaps are the obvious choice for what to do ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 40k
32 votes

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

Handmade items made by a famous artisan from a famous planet. These items could be decorative (paintings, vases), utilitarian (glassware, pottery, handbag, shoes), or functional (instrument, book (...
Michael Richardson's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

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

Terraforming is going to be a far greater investment than strip-mining. However, the cost will still vary wildly based on what the planet is like. Planets which are close to the target for ...
Dan W's user avatar
  • 3,994
30 votes

Delivery of minerals to Earth from the asteroids by artificial meteorite or solid metal glider

Refine as much as possible on the asteriod. Keep your as much of your refinering chain as close as possible to your mining operation, moving 1kg of high grade ore vs 1kg of low grade ore requires the ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 44.2k
28 votes
Accepted

How do underwater societies develop mining?

This Answer by TechZen gives a lot of insight into the technology of an underwater civilization. Specific to your question: Tools underwater would be much different than we think of them. For example,...
AJMoon's user avatar
  • 644
25 votes

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

One thing to consider is the difficulty of retooling. This is, oddly, a point in the favour of asteroids. Simply put: when moving your operations from one planet to another you have to consider ...
Joe Bloggs's user avatar
  • 66.3k
25 votes

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

What benefits would be gained by using human laborers instead of drones in deep sea mining? tl;dr: None. Long answer: First let's address several assumptions in your question. demand for resources ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 3,858
24 votes

Would asteroid mining be worth the trouble?

Depending on what you're using the minerals for, this might not only be worth it, but it might be the only possible way to access minerals in any quantity. Let's start by taking a look at Apollo 11. ...
Tim B   II's user avatar
  • 54.1k
22 votes

Using a quarry as a water reservoir

The water pH in water that accumulates in some former quarries can be affected by the chemicals used in the mining process and reactions with the exposed rock faces in the quarry. For example ...
Sarriesfan's user avatar
  • 3,000
22 votes
Accepted

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

Avoidance; or, don't build your house on a thermal vent The Earth has tectonic activity: both earthquakes and "thermal vents" that spew fiery rocks out (i.e. volcanos). How do you know you aren't in ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.4k
22 votes

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

All in all it depends on what materials they use the most of. If the galactic strip miners use more carbon than they produce then you can bet it will become expensive in very short order! However, if ...
Joe Bloggs's user avatar
  • 66.3k
21 votes
Accepted

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

Two reasons Cost - it's not going to be cheaper to mine water in space. There's a massive energy cost to get something into space against Earth's gravity well, and if you're going to mine something ...
Halfthawed's user avatar
  • 40.5k
20 votes

How to mine the underside of a floating continent?

Physically hold your miners over the side. Send them down on ropes, or set up scaffolds and other works that anchor into the rockface beside/above them. This would be a complex undertaking, but ...
Cadence's user avatar
  • 38.2k
20 votes

Would salt mines, lakes or flats be reasonably found in high, snowy elevations?

They mine a lot of pink salt in the Himalaya mountain range on Earth. This is the result of plate tectonics and many, many tens of millions of years of uplift. While not quite as high, the salt flats ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 11.5k
19 votes

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

The only reason we would mine the rings is to bring water to solar system parts without water. That would NOT be Earth. We might go there for Mars or the Moon or fueling space colonies, but not for ...
SRM's user avatar
  • 25.4k
18 votes

How do underwater societies develop mining?

I'd like to point out that the age of steam and the study of thermodynamics was a result of the task of keeping water out of mines. So maybe they won't develop mecanical technology in the same way. ...
JDługosz's user avatar
  • 69.4k
18 votes

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

As you mentioned, there doesn't appear to be a lot of information about this online, but it does seem some gemstones are associated with different metal ores. Quartz is associated with gold and a few ...
Cadence's user avatar
  • 38.2k
17 votes

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

Whatever costs the most to deliver to a client in the promised condition Using a Nuclear Reactor or Particle Accelerator, it should be possible to synthetically create any element. Given that any ...
Tyler S. Loeper's user avatar
17 votes

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

No, there's no such element that would justify this sort of attempt. We have data on the composition of the Sun's photosphere, one of its outermost layers. By mass, the solar photosphere is 98.3% ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
16 votes
Accepted

Using a quarry as a water reservoir

Leaching, stagnation You ask... What are the implications of using a quarry as a water storage? The problems are... Leaching Stagnation At quarries and mines they have broken up and crushed the ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.7k
16 votes

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

If it is a planet, terraform. Sure, hollow habitats are neat, but if you have the tech and energy budget that there is a genuine choice to strip-mine a planet, you are rich enough to afford the luxury ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 115k
16 votes
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How much mining can we get out of Pasiphae?

I'd say only a few percent of its mass could be mined, but only because of the amount of material actually worth mining -- there's not really a risk of a potential collapse. The key point is that I'm ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
15 votes

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

Legally-regulated or illicit substances Unless you count exotic phases of matter (e.g. quark-gluon condensate) to be "materials", then the most realistic expensive material would be one ...
forest's user avatar
  • 2,043
14 votes

Mining Suns For Terraforming?

Gas giants are cheaper and require less handwaving Stars are made of plasma. If you harvest the material from the outer layers of a star - or even from ejected matter - you will need a way to cool it ...
Zxyrra's user avatar
  • 20.6k
14 votes

Where do mining "dwarves" put all the stone?

Since you mentioned trade with humans in the middle ages; that adds a likely answer. They build roads with it that link human trade routes to their centers of trade. And if the roads are finely enough ...
steverino's user avatar
  • 1,229

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