The best of 2014

Mining

The GE Industrea Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser is designed to operate safely in colleries

The depths of a coal mine couldn't be considered ideal driving conditions for most vehicles, but the Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser isn't most vehicles. GE recently announced that it has delivered its 500th Mine Cruiser, which is a four-wheel drive utility vehicle capable of carrying up to 14 passengers, yet is built to operate safely in the vast galleries of modern underground coal mines.  Read More

Eucalyptus leaves showing traces of different minerals including gold

Scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have discovered that eucalyptus trees in the Australian outback are drawing up gold particles from deep underground through their root system and depositing the precious metal in their leaves and branches. Rather than being a new source of "gold leaf," the discovery could provide a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to uncover valuable gold ore deposits.  Read More

X-rays can be used to detect pieces of gold somewhat smaller than this monster

Every year, Australian mining companies discard hundred of millions of dollars worth of gold. They're not doing it on purpose, it’s just that the standard industry technique of scanning mineral samples isn’t sensitive enough to detect small traces of the precious metal. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Canadian company Mevex have tested a new technique using powerful X-rays that can detect these small trace amounts quickly and accurately.  Read More

Artists impression of an Arkyd-200 series interceptor passing a candidate asteroid for min...

“I’m Chris Lewicki, and I’m an asteroid miner!” These were the opening words spoken by the President and Chief Engineer of Planetary Resources Inc., as the asteroid mining company emerged from three years of silent running to outline its plans to mine Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) within the decade.  Read More

Planetary Resources may be looking to start mining asteroids (Image: NASA)

Planetary Resources, a new player in the commercial space industry, is backed by a host of tech and aerospace luminaries with an integrated personal net worth on the far side of US$30 billion. A press release from the company hints that it will look to establish asteroid mining operations in space.  Read More

Mining the moon: the Scarab lunar prospecting robot

Plans are afoot to have humans back on the moon by 2020, but if we want to make it more than just a brief visit and truly begin to colonize the solar system, the challenge will be to find ways to extract and exploit local resources that can help sustain a lunar outpost. That's where the Scarab comes in. The four-wheel, 880-pound lunar prospecting robot designed by Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, and soon to be field tested by NASA on the slopes of a dormant volcano in Hawaii, is equipped to drill and collect three-foot samples of soil and rock while operating in one of the harshest environments imaginable - the moon's southern pole. The rover will act as a terrestrial testbed for the development of technologies that it's hoped can be used to find hydrogen, oxygen and possibly even water, that could be mined from beneath the moon's surface.  Read More

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