The Luxembourg government adopted a draft law Friday that might change the present scenario of space mining. While not many private operators are working on space mining due to the legalities involved, the new law will instill confidence about extractors' rights in outer space. The legal framework is a part of the SpaceResources.lu initiative for exploration and commercial use of resources extracted from Near Earth Objects like asteroids.
“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,” Etienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, said in an official announcement of the draft law.
According to Article 1 of the draft law, space resources are capable of being appropriated in accordance with international law. This makes Luxembourg the first European country to provide legal ownership of external space resources. It also lays down the regulations for authorization and supervision of space resources utilization missions -- for both the exploration and the use of such resources.
Schneider added that negotiations are underway to formalize relationships with 20 companies and entrepreneurs globally for supporting the SpaceResources.lu initiative.
"Luxembourg’s new space legislation confirms the strong commitment to become a European hub for the exploration and use of space resources,” Schneider said.