Hauling unprocessed ore into orbit to be refined seems extremely inefficient. The Cardassians occupied Bajor for 50 years, so they had plenty of time to build refineries on the surface.

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    Opinion here, we have seen orbital mining facilities before (like the one where Data discovers sentience in the worker bots), I imagine it's easier to move an orbital facility over deposits, rather than dismantling are rebuilding to follow the ore. It also allows some security, harder to bomb by rebels. – user001 Oct 5 '15 at 9:16
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    Can they not just transport ore too? Straight into the holding bays? – user46509 Oct 5 '15 at 9:21
  • Excellent question! Even security reasons don't make up for the effort to haul unrefined ore up into space against the gravity well of a planet. Imho it just shows the deep lack of understanding for the energy needed to do so on the writers side. After all the original function of Terok Nor could have been designed to be something else. – Ghanima Oct 5 '15 at 10:58
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    @CarlSixsmith, that question has actually been covered: Why do cultures with transport technology use conventional mining methods? – T.J.L. Oct 5 '15 at 12:22
  • @T.J.L. Yeah my point is you have the slave labour pulling the ore out of the mine and then that is transported. – user46509 Oct 5 '15 at 12:30

I believe that the Bajoran Uridium ore didn't have to come from the planet Bajor. Maybe it came from another astronomical body in the Bajoran system, a body with a small escape body so that the total escape energy and interplanetary transport energy would have been smaller than the energy to lift the ore up from Bajor.

Possibly the Cardassians only abandoned the Bajoran system after they had mined and exhausted all the valuable Uridium and other ores in the various bodies of the Bajoran System.

There is no canonical proof of this theory.

Evidence in favor of it is:

1) that it takes much less energy to mine an small astronomical body and move the ore to a station in orbit around a planet than it takes to mine the ores on the planet and move them up to an orbiting space station.

2) In "The Nagus Jake is teaching Nog to read and Nog says:

The lar, largest planet is Bajor. It has three moons?


3) in "Progress" there is the following log:

Station log. Stardate 46844.3. With the help of the Federation, Bajor is about to commence its first large-scale energy transfer, the tapping of the molten core of its fifth moon, Jeraddo.


So Bajor's moons have numbers up to five (or higher) and yet a probably nearly contemporary source says that Bajor has three moons.

Thus it seems that the number of Bajor's moons changes. If Bajor had at least two small asteroid sized moons full of Uridium ore the Cardassians may have totally demolished them to get the ores, leaving Bajor with just three remaining moons.

  • I had never noticed the discrepancy in the number of moons before. – Xantec Oct 6 '15 at 20:39
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    Other uses for the station would include ship repair, a haven for visiting officials so they wouldn't need to actually go to Bajor, a trade station, guard "tower" to watch over the Bajoran prisoners/slaves, etc. And in one of the "mirror" episodes we see that the Terrans have even attached a dry dock to the docking ring, allowing for local starship construction. – Xantec Oct 6 '15 at 20:42
  • I just substituted the fictional substance Uridium for the real element Iridium in my answer. I just can't get used to the creators using a fictional substance Uridium which sounds so much like the real element Iridium. – M. A. Golding Oct 7 '15 at 1:01
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    I recall references to "strip mining my planet" and widespread ecological devastation on Bajor. That would suggest that there was at least some mining on the planet. – mu is too short Oct 7 '15 at 3:31
  • @Xantec Nog was just learning to read, he may've got it wrong. – 1252748 Nov 4 '15 at 1:09

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