I am also bullish where the future of automation is concerned, but I suspect we’re not as close to robots which can autonomously mine in such harsh conditions as well as self maintain and self repair as you seem to believe.

Norilsk looks nice for like a week in the Summer, but if you Google some photos of it in the Winter it’s absolutely miserable and very much like Antarctica. People spend nearly all their time indoors.

It goes to show a single industry can support human settlements in extremely hostile environments, that people willingly go to live in such places because the money is good, and that the barriers to arctic/antarctic human settlement are fundamentally solvable.

Only the port would need to be located as you describe. The settlements could be built the same way Amundsen Scott South Pole Station and Halley IV are: Made of modular sections, on stilts, able to be moved as needed and raised above the ever-accumulating snow.

The port settlement would support these bases further in, on the ice, in the same way McMurdo supports Amundsen Scott and Halley IV. The research community has already solved all the problems that would’ve prevented commercial settlements, which can now use the exact same technologies and methodologies.

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