Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: Law and Regulation of Commercial Mining of Minerals in Outer Space

     Law and Regulation of Commercial Mining of Minerals in Outer Space by Ricky Lee is the seventh volume in the Springer Space Regulations Library. ISBN: 9789400720381. Lee lays out a strong background and a detailed overview of the current state of space law to form his proposal for creating a regulatory framework for mining in outer space. The book is organized into 7 chapters, references, and an index. After the detailed table of contents are lists of abbreviations, list of figures, list of tables, glossary, and a list of reports, series, and journal titles.

     Chapter 1 provides the historical background for space exploration, the hypothesis of the book, and lays out a broad overview of the other chapters. There is a graphical representation of the flow of the chapters on page 3. This is the first of many charts and graphs throughout the book which add detail and allows the reader to obtain a thorough grasp of the technical material. Chpater 2 discusses the economic and technical prospects of space mining. One part of the chapter of particular interest is the discussion of the various classes of asteroids and their geologic make-up. Chapter 3 reviews the exisiting international space law. Chapter 4 explores how commercial uses of outer space coincide with provisions of the international treaties with discussions on commercial versus public use and the prohibition on property rights. Chpater 5 describes the policy impasses of the "province of all manking" and "common heritage of mankind" principles and the need for a new legal framework. Chpater 6 is the key chapter to the book's namesake. This is the chapter where Lee proposes resolutions to balance regulation and free market in the creation of an international regulatory authority without violating or recreating the international treaties. Chapter 7 briefly discusses the assumptions that must be satisfied in order for the hypothesis to be proven.

     Along with the footnotes in each chapter the researcher will also find the organization of the references section highly useful. This section is broken down into treaties, United Nations documents, international cases, domestic (by country) legislation and regulations, domestic cases, and secondary sources. Overall the book is detailed, thorough and a very interesting read for the space law and asteroid mining enthusiast.

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