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Old 08-06-2019, 08:45 PM
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Sage Rat is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Cool, thanks.

But the largest number reported there for gold is around 10 ppm. At that concentration, we'd have to process quarter of a billion tons of ore per year, in space, to get enough gold to replace earth's current rate of production.
Processing in space might be more efficient. On Earth, because of gravity, you are having to deal with friction. If you want to push a large mass, you have to overcome its stiction and then continue to handle its kinetic friction to maintain movement. Alternately, you have to lift the mass and carry it. In space, you can simply give your mass a kick in the right direction and it will figure out the rest on its own.

Probably more significant than that is the cost savings in having the freedom of destruction. You don't have to worry about anyone complaining that you're strip mining or making a loud racket, etc.

(That said, there's a counter-cost added that you don't have gravity stopping shrapnel thrown off by your machinery, when you process in space. Keeping everything contained as you're shredding and melting could be a hassle.)