Google has presented a new space challenge offering $30 million to the first private group that build, launch, and successfully run a rover on the Moon. This seems focused on future mining efforts on the Moon. Of course there are some political challenges involved in mining on the Moon, as there are already treaties in place making it a hands off terrain for private enterprise. Yet the paydays could be tremendous. There are some distinct similarities to the Alaskan Gold Rush. A handful of entrepreneurs will get rich, probably dwarfing the wealth of the Bill Gates and Walton family among others. Still the up front investment will probably be more than a ticket to the Yukon.
Still it doesn’t look a lot more desolate than Wyoming
Other than blue skies… and oxygen/nitrogen mix.
Are we likely to see actual mining on the Moon in the next 25 years? I think the technology is close even now. They’ll have to find ice/water (which they have found). The biggest issue will probably wind up being the international trade barriers.