14 April 2016. On 13th of April ESPI organized an evening event on one of the currently hottest topics in space law – "Space Mining between the Space Treaties and the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act". The subject was discussed by four experts: Dr. Philip De Man (Leuven University), Prof. Tanja Masson-Zwaan (President of IISL), Prof. Gbenga Oduntan (Kent Law School), Robert D. Richards (CEO, Moon Express), representing a variety of views.
The ESPI event coincided with the decision of the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee to adopt a new agenda item ‘’General exchange of views on possible legal models for activities in exploration, exploitation and utilisation of space resources“, proving the importance of the topic, and the readiness of important stakeholders to address it in a substantive way.
The event drew a full house and involved a discussion with the audience following the presentations. At the end, the Director summed up that there seems to be a high degree of consensus that activities like space mining should be enabled, even if there were very different views on how this should be done. So, much more discussion is necessary, and it is pleasing to see that after a long period of neglect this íssue has come on the front burner again.