Costs related to space exploration are well documented. However, what about the costs of Earth projects like dam/mines/tunnels? What has been the most expensive projects? I know that nuclear power plants construction costs may reach the 10 billions of dollars/eur, but what about other projects?

As an example, how much did cost to set up the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia? How expensive was the South Deep gold mine in South Africa?

My question is triggered by the expected costs related to deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, it should be on the order of 50/100 billions USD/EUR, so I would like to compare apples and oranges to understand how credible is that estimate.

  • $\begingroup$ That's economy, only partly earth science. To get an answer you must define "cost" because it's just a slogan. Do you mean only exploration and construction, that's trivial ? But a lot of "cost" is not accounted for or ignored, especially all those positions of second order like environmental destruction, loss of biologically active area, loss of diversity, greenhouse gas release of construction work, relocating people and tensions growing from that, etc. If you include that, "cost" grows towards infinity. $\endgroup$
    – user20217
    Jun 9 '20 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ The reason why the process can only be kept up by infinitely providing money, otherwise it wouldn't work anyway. But that's a completely irrelevant thing here. From a mere geoscience point oif view, a safe "deep geoligal disposal of radioactive waste" does not exist, you can only put it out of sight for a while. Voting to close as too unspecific, but the answer is "undefined" or "infinite" in terms of money. $\endgroup$
    – user20217
    Jun 9 '20 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @ebv, the question is too broad and more economical than geological. Plus you have to consider one thing: most projects (tunnels, dams, mines, oil fields...) actually make more money than what they have cost, it's why they were built in the first place. $\endgroup$ Jun 9 '20 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ @a_donda ?Do you mean that the research on the deep geological disposal of waste are not peer-reviewed research? Have a look at the following peer reviewed researchs: agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2018WR024218 (authors from Cambridge, UK, year 2019) this chapter from a book summing up >2 decades of peer-reviewed res agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118877517.ch2 (2015, authors from Berkeley Lab in the US and Imperial College London, UK) Or (France, >100 peer-reviewed citations): link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00603-012-0339-6 $\endgroup$
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 9 '20 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ the largest and most expensive geology related project is the coal and oil industry. $\endgroup$ Jun 10 '20 at 9:19