<p>Luxembourg aims to be the capital of asteroid mining in Europe.</p>
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Luxembourg aims to be the capital of asteroid mining in Europe.

Europe’s space mining capital

With a number of initiatives aimed at separating itself from the rest, tiny Luxembourg is setting itself up to become the world’s preeminent country in space mining.

Luxembourg has agreed to buy a major stake in Planetary Resources, an emerging asteroid mining company. The country and the company said in a statement that the agreement seeks to speed the development of technologies to explore and utilize resources from asteroids. Earlier this year, the government reached an agreement with another space mining company, Deep Space Industries, to develop Prospector-X, a small and experimental spacecraft.

Luxembourg is also offering a 200 million euro line of credit for entrepreneurial space mining companies that set up their European headquarters there.

Asteroids are packed with iron ore, nickel and precious metals at denser concentrations than those found on Earth, with estimated yields in the trillions of dollars.