Asteroid mining and processing

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PsiTraveller
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Asteroid mining and processing

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:35 am

It's been discussed on the board before, but I was wondering if anything new has been released regarding how mining and processing of asteroid material works?

I am looking at what is produced by mining drones, common ore, uncommon ore, precious metals etc, there is a chart on pg 147 of the Core book, but is it superseded by anything? high Guard has a completely different system.

Yield of an asteroid High Guard pg 77

Assuming a 1 million ton asteroid (a roll of 7 on the chart, average roll), there is a potential yield of 4D% ore, which given average rolls is 14% ore. So there are 140,000 tons of ore inside the asteroid.

So when mining drones are operating, are they extracting just ore or only 14% yield? and what do you do with the other 86 percent of material. (because you have fusion power, I think you should be able to make/extract something of value with all the energy you have available.

And then we come to the refinery and smelter entries in the space station section (high guard pg 61 and 62) the refinery takes in 100 tons of material and produces 50 tons of common ore, 30 tons of uncommon ore, 15 tons of Crystals and gems and 5 tons of precious metal. Which seems to have no connection to the yield of the asteroid from pg 77.

Can anyone spell out how the system works?

Thank you
Linwood
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Re: Asteroid mining and processing

Postby Linwood » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:23 pm

I was plotting an adventure focused on asteroid mining a while back. In the category of "waste not, want not" I was kicking around some potential uses for the tailings (the other 86%). These included:

- using them for 'space concrete' for construction materials for habitats, shelters and the like.
- making an ablative coating for thermal and/or radiation resistance (or maybe ablative ship armor?)
- exporting them (in-system) for fill (think a water world trying to increase land area, possible use in filtration systems like settling ponds, or a world that's outlawed gravel quarries over environmental concerns)
- establishing your own Asteroid Pottery Barn chain stocked with items made from tailings (something like this has been tried w/ nuclear waste as I recall)
- possible re-purposing as abrasives (pumice stones, sandpaper, etc.)
- making dumb weapon targets for naval gunnery practice

Most of these thoughts would only apply to use insystem. Exporting the tailings as is to another system in most cases would make little to no sense economically.
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paltrysum
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Re: Asteroid mining and processing

Postby paltrysum » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:05 pm

It’s not for Traveller, but have you looked at Uranium Fever: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/238061?
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
DickTurpin
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Re: Asteroid mining and processing

Postby DickTurpin » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:54 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:35 am
It's been discussed on the board before, but I was wondering if anything new has been released regarding how mining and processing of asteroid material works?

I am looking at what is produced by mining drones, common ore, uncommon ore, precious metals etc, there is a chart on pg 147 of the Core book, but is it superseded by anything? high Guard has a completely different system.

Yield of an asteroid High Guard pg 77

Assuming a 1 million ton asteroid (a roll of 7 on the chart, average roll), there is a potential yield of 4D% ore, which given average rolls is 14% ore. So there are 140,000 tons of ore inside the asteroid.

So when mining drones are operating, are they extracting just ore or only 14% yield? and what do you do with the other 86 percent of material. (because you have fusion power, I think you should be able to make/extract something of value with all the energy you have available.

And then we come to the refinery and smelter entries in the space station section (high guard pg 61 and 62) the refinery takes in 100 tons of material and produces 50 tons of common ore, 30 tons of uncommon ore, 15 tons of Crystals and gems and 5 tons of precious metal. Which seems to have no connection to the yield of the asteroid from pg 77.

Can anyone spell out how the system works?
As you noticed, there are three different rules for mining asteroids. The CRB table on p. 147 are a stripped-down version dealing with the "Ore-bearing asteroid" result on the Space Encounters table; it is only used if the GM rolls a 04 or 15 on the encounter table. Mining drones are the most efficient way tor extracting this ore but other methods, such as blasting it with lasers and collecting the rubble or having vacc suited crew members attacking the rock with hammers and pry bars,

Next we have the actual Belt mining rules from High Guard. There the rules are more complicated and based in part on the type of asteroid found, which in turn is partially determined by the location of the asteroid in the star system. Extraction methods are detailed as Manual Mining (in a vacc suit with hand tools), Mining Drones, or a Laser Drill (found on p. 25 of HG).

First up are Silicate based asteroids which are very common and can be found everywhere, without bothering with the Scan Potential, Composition, resource Presence, or Asteroid Yield tables. They always contain 50% Common Ore and 30% Uncommon Ore, and the remaining 20% is worthless.

Next are the more challenging asteroid types, Metallic, Carbonaceous, and Ice. Rolling on the Scan Potential table (HG p. 75) determines what might be found, Crystalline, Dense (Metals), or Exotics. Exotics are the weird ones and require a follow-up check on the Exotic table to see what it may be. Note that this is the only way to find Radioactives. Using the result from the Scan potential table, based on the zone where the asteroid was found, a roll on the Composition table to see what is actually there (Crystals, Metals, or Ice) you can then use that result, cross-indexed with the C/D/E result from earlier the Resource Presence table to see if the rock has enough valuable stuff to actually bother mining it. If you succeed you can then move on to the Asteroid Size and Yield table to find out how much of the asteroid is actually the resource indicated. The remaining portion of that asteroid is then treated like a Silicate based asteroid and yields 50% Common Ore, 30% Uncommon Ore, and 20% worthless scrap.

It is not very clear exactly what Trade Good you get based on the different tables. This is my best guess: The Exotics table indicates Crystal & Gems (on a roll of 2), Precious Metals (3), Radioactives (7,8), Carbonaceous materials (5,6,9,11) and an Artifact on a roll of 12. I do not know what to make of rolls of 4 or 10, maybe a role playing opportunity to try to find a buyer? Dense materials from the Scan Potential table seem to be Precious Metals, and a Cry result is either Carbonaceous or Ice (both Cr. 75 /ton) which type does not seem to matter. Common and Uncommon Ores map straight across to the Trade Goods table in the CRB.

Last we come to the Mineral Refinery in High Guard. This is a facility that basically averages out the results from the Belt Mining rules. It uses asteroid towing tugs (manned until TL 12, then drone ships) which are included in the price of the refinery to haul whatever they find in for processing. It assumes that a wide variety of asteroids are fed into the hopper and it automatically produces the Trade Goods listed in the description.
Condottiere
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Re: Asteroid mining and processing

Postby Condottiere » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:36 pm

Going by current practices, mining corporations will choose the cheapest method, for them, usually strip mining.

Drones can be programmed to use least path of resistance, intelligently boring through the bedrock.

Assuming there is nearby demand, the rest of the asteroid could be used as a quarry for building materials.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Asteroid mining and processing

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:48 am

Silicate rocks are about 53 percent oxygen, so the "low value" silicate rocks could be a great source of atmosphere for a space station. Leaving silicon behind.

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