Robots and asteroids: The future of mining is here

​From autonomous mining to missions to capture asteroids for fuel – all will be discussed this week at the 3rd International Future Mining Conference in Sydney.


Concept sketch of an asteroid harvester. Credit: Deep Space Industries.

From autonomous mining to emerging exploration technologies; from the hot new commodities needed for high-tech equipment to extracting super-rich ore from the deep sea – and even missions to capture asteroids and extract fuel for satellites – all of these will be discussed this week at the 3rd International Future Mining Conference being held in Sydney.

Showcasing innovations and technological developments in the minerals industry, the conference will hear from senior mining executives, engineers and scientists at ‘the coalface’ of the future of resource extraction around the world, including:

  • René Fradet, Deputy Director, Engineering & Science Directorate, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (USA)
  • Nick Holland, CEO, Gold Fields (South Africa)
  • Craig Stegman, Chief Growth and Innovation Officer – Copper & Coal, Rio Tinto (Australia)
  • James D. Humphrey, Senior Mining Markets - Global Mining Division, Caterpillar (USA)

Topics to be discussed include  what types of new minerals will bring wealth in the future, how global warming and climate change will affect the industry, renewable and alternative energies, mining in environmentally sensitive areas, advances in water treatment and reuse and a site of novel mining systems and technologies that are revolutionising the industry.

The 3rd International Future Mining Conference opens on Wednesday 4 November at Australian Technology Park, Locomotive St, Eveleigh, in Sydney and will run for two days.

Being held concurrently is the 2nd Off-Earth Mining Forum, from Thursday 5-6 November at the same venue.

Speakers from the space agencies of the United States (NASA) and Japan (JAXA) – as well as space mining companies Deep Space Industries and Shackleton Energy – will join engineers and scientists in discussing the work being done to prepare for the coming age of asteroid mining in space - from resources, technologies, robotics, automation, instrumentation and business risks.

Available for interview:

  • Assoc Prof Serkan Saydam, chair of the 3rd International Future Mining Conference and a geotechnical engineer working to develop financial and technical models to evaluate various off-Earth mining scenarios, including mining on Mars.
  • Prof Andrew Dempster, Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at UNSW Professor in Space Systems Engineering, organiser of the Off-Earth Mining Forum