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Legal and political aspects of space mining


[ 1 ] Katedra Prawa Międzynarodowego, Instytut Prawa, Akademia Sztuki Wojennej | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[5.7] Law

Year of publication


Published in

Polish Journal of Political Science

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 6 | Journal number: no. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • International law
  • National law
  • Space mining
  • Research missions
  • Kosmos
  • Prawo kosmiczne
  • Górnictwo

EN In recent years, there has been a great interest of states and international corporations in the problem of obtaining raw materials from celestial bodies. Space mining is a future branch of industry that does not exist yet, related to the extraction of natural resources from celestial bodies. Although we currently bring from space at most samples of material for research, serious companies have been established that deal with the development of technologies related to the extraction of raw materials. Today, space mining is treated as an inevitable and important element of the future world economy. Moreover, it is already a source of conflicts. Space mining is of interest mainly to those countries which have not been endowed by nature with deposits of rare raw materials sufficient to meet the needs and ambitions, and private entities encouraged by the scale of potential profits. The flagship example of the first type is the United States, for which the ultimate goal of the space programme is the expansion of humanity throughout the solar system; it also counts on quick and big profits. For years, the Americans have been concerned about maintaining freedom of action, e.g. by remaining outside the regime of the Moon Treaty; they even introduced in their domestic legislation preliminary regulations regarding extraterrestrial extraction and ownership of raw materials.. In April this year, President Trump issued a decree affirming the right to commercial extraction of raw materials from space bodies, rejecting the concept of space as a “global community” that 62 Małgorzata Polkowska had been the international norm until then. Some researchers say that recent US policy actions are part of a coordinated effort to redirect international space cooperation to short-term commercial interests that could lead to a “race to the bottom”, sabotaging the efforts to ensure secure access to space activities. The only way out of this situation is an international agreement, which will amend space laws (international and national) towards their modernization and harmonisation.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

61 - 84


Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021