Investment in Space Resources: Property Rights to Natural Resources Extracted in Space and the Position of Iraqi legal system




Space Resource, Outer Space, Property Rights, Space Act, Ownership, Moon Agreement, Outer Space Treaty, Investment, Luxembourg Space Law, USA Space Law


In the second half of the last century, the space activities have increased paralleled with the rapid development in space technology. The greed of giant corporations has exceeded the universe and tried to reach resources outside Earth. Exploring other planets is not something new, while racing to reach the resources outside earth by private space exploration companies as human’s off earth destiny is quite recent. Many nations have plan to reach the moon by 2020 including the United States who has plan to establish a permanent base on moon by 2024. The ambition to reach outer space is not just for the scientific purposes, but rather to exploit resources form space. As long as space is a common sphere among all the nations, there are many treaties signed and ratified to lay down broad rules and principle to organize the area. Mining celestial materials is one of the issues that does not have a legal framework as private companies are eagerly trying to mine materials which are not existed on earth such as Helium three or any other bodies that are scarce on earth. Until now, the international community has not been successful in establishing a solid legal system to regulate outer space activities. Besides, there are attempts by some countries to have particular legislation allowing private companies to extract natural resources. However, technological, economic and military powers of countries are the major factors in exercising the activities outside our planet due to the special nature of such activities. This paper argues that despite the difficulties of having a consensus over a legal framework, there are many other issues that need to be taken into consideration. Further, the perspective of the Iraqi legal system is also examined with regard to the possibility of adopting particular law on outer space activities. It also argues that although the lack of advanced technological skills might avoid countries reaching outer space, it will not prevent states from adopting specific legislation to regulate private corporations’ attempt to explore in this field.        


International convention and legislations
• Iraqi Civil Code No.40 of 1951
• KRG Oil and Gas Law No.28 of 2007
• USA Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act 2015
• Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act of 2015
• Act on the Exploration and Use of Space Resources (the Space Resources Act) of 2017.
• Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and then Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space 1967 ("Rescue Agreement")
• Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects 1972 ("Liability Convention")
• Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space 1974 ("Registration Agreement")
• Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and other Celestial Bodies 1979 ("Moon Agreement").
• Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies 1967 ("Outer Space Treaty")

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