China’s Moon Gold: Is Lunar Mining the Future?  


 For thousands of years, we have utilized our planet’s natural gold supply, trading and melting it down to suit our needs. Gold veins have proven valuable assets to mining companies all over the world, helping to meet the demand for our favorite yellow metal. All the world’s current gold supply originated, at one time or another, underground. While it may seem like science fiction, a rich supply of gold exists somewhere quite unexpected, but closer than you think. And that place is? The moon.

Science Fiction Reality

Back in 2013, China’s Chang’e3 lunar lander touched down on the moon’s surface, deploying the rover Yutu. The mission’s aim was to study moon geology, but, 31 months after landing, the rover ceased functioning. Earlier this year, however, the Chinese government revealed that Yutu had discovered “significant quantities” of gold close to the lunar surface. They announced their findings seemingly out of nowhere, though the proximity to the recent US presidential election seems no coincidence. With gold prices surging in the wake of political turmoil, will we be driven to new extremes to meet gold demands? On the contrary, moon gold, as novel as it sounds, is no bad thing.

Lunar gold veins represent a promising future for the mining industry. Chinese sources estimate there to be around 30—40 MT of lunar gold waiting to be tapped. The Chinese government has voiced its plans to mine and refine these vast lunar deposits by the year 2030. But the moon’s mining potential doesn’t end there. Who knows what other rich mineral deposits lie in wait and what investment opportunities they represent? Furthermore, the Chinese government also plans to launch a second lunar orbiter in November this year. The Chang’e5 will release another lander and rover to collect 2 kilograms of gold-bearing dust from the moon’s surface. This second mission should hopefully shed more light on the moon gold mystery.

Who Owns Moon Gold?

Do maritime rules of “finders-keepers” apply in space? Is the moon’s gold supply available only on a first-come-first-served basis? No one owns the moon, so there’s no one to police it. It is, much like the continent of Antarctica, a no man’s land.The Chinese have expressed interest in mining only 16,000 MT of the 30—40 MT, so it seems there’s more than enough for everyone. It may be the case that multiple nations pool their resources in the quest for the moon’s rich bounty. Its myriad medical and technological applications make gold a prized commodity, and, as such, we may find ourselves exploring unknown frontiers to acquire it. While lunar mining as a concept is intriguing, it’s a simple fact that we don’t have the required technology for it. Right now, at least. China aims to begin their mining operations by 2031. By then, these plans may be closer to reality.

We’re over the moon about lunar gold at Indigo Precious Metals. We relish unexpected opportunities like this, and who knows what else the future holds? For live pricing, information on vaulting, investing, and more, visit usat