The next minerals boom could come from outer space, with collaboration between two companies bringing asteroid mining closer.

Asteroid mining hopeful Planetary Resources has teamed up with 3D Systems, an additive printing company, to work on components and techniques for Planetary’s proposed mining operations in space.

The plan is to mass-produce an autonomous mining robot called ARKYD, three series of which have already been designed. The companies are looking to exploit the massive amounts of precious resources floating around in space. Different plans propose dragging rocks into Earth’s orbit or attaching drones to them as they fling around the galaxy.

With some forecasters saying Australia’s resources boom could be nearing an end, mining bosses may now be looking to the stars for the site of their next big dig.