Back when Earth was only a 1,000,000,000 years old (and to scientists best estimate, in it's awkward teenage years) the earth was still being pelted by meteorites, a s*** ton of them (Science jargon). It is now being theorized that these meteorites gave Earth most of the Noble metals that exist on our planet today, if not all. In the words of Dr. Willbold, researcher on the project...
Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion billion tonnes of asteroidal material
Pretty crazy right? Blowin yo mind with Science yet? If not imagine the implications this news has for sci-fi writers?
Exospheronic Gold Rush anyone?