Took a break from converting my Wall of Destruction story to a movie script. Did some work on the details of my Worm Hole Earth universe. The government is based upon an Oligarchy. There are major consortiums and then guilds that almost all citizens of the Republic of Man or Solarian Empire worked for. Here is what I have written about the mining consortiums.
Mining Consortiums: There are 4 consortiums responsible for all natural element acquisition. Whether it is water, Helium, Gold, Silver,etc… They are responsible for acquisition and refinement (smelters, clarifiers, etc..) for delivery to their customers. For example, they will produce Gold into ingots or Steel into bars for delivery or purify water or turn hydrogen into liquid or harvest anti-matter.
In the habitable systems, the territory is broken into zones around the system and they can bid for each zone. In non-habitable systems they can bid for the entire system. Then only the government presence is authorized without their permission. They get a 100 year lease on either the zones or 250 years for a system.
When Man first went to space, the mining consortiums set up factories in Earth orbit and sent small mining colonies to the asteroids to start mining them. Then around 2100 the Argotonian Mining Consortium built a station in the Asteroid Belt. The trips back and forth between mining concerns and the processing factory were shortened. Since the majority of a trip is from source to factory and not factory to customer, the economics proved overwhelming.
Within the next 20 years, all four consortiums had built their processing stations in the asteroid belt. The powering of these stations made them dangerous places with the Chibra Mining Consortium losing their station, in 2141. A minor asteroid rocketed into the side of the station and the nuclear reactor melted down. This caused 29,023 deaths and the further regulating of space stations for safety.
By 2300, the consortiums had become system owning concerns with each owning at least 4 star systems. These systems were mostly Red Dwarf stars that already burned through the majority of their fuel. They were surrounded by dead worlds and large Kuiper belts. The worlds were investigated for scientific reasons while the clouds were mined.
Normally, when a system is leased, a single Solar Station, Central Station and System Command Station are present. The controlling consortium would come in and build a processing facility, additional Solar Stations and a fleet of Scheffer class ships to mine the belts. The “Scheffer” class ships are massive ships over 5 miles long and 3 miles in diameter. They have large bays forward that allow the ship to “swallow” asteroids or comets, lock them in place and then start mining them. Only the rear 1/3 of the ship has artificial gravity. There is a large PT Ring that feeds the broken down materials to an orbital industrial station.
The ship drills stabilizing struts into the object, then robotic miners go out and break up the material. The robotic miners are controlled by drivers located in the front third of the ship. Large vacuum type systems suck all the lose material up and push it towards the PT Ring. These ships can scoop up 4-5 objects less than a mile wide and start tearing them apart. The crew gets changed out every 8 hours with another shift from the industrial station. No further mining on living planets is allowed. All future mineral gains will need to come from space based sources.
Science teams would canvas the planets and the further reaches of the system for geology of the system and general science of the system. Sometimes they would invite other consortiums or guilds to come to their system to build their own stations. These entities would pay a lease to the controlling consortium which would offset some of their lease to the government.
As with the rest of human space, no one normally lives on the mining stations or Scheffer ships. They commute to work via the ring network from the habitable planets. Most stations and ships have showering facilities but not really living quarters.