The human element in exoplanet mining operations. Some may ask: With the advanced nature of technology, why would you still need a human to operate a mining mech? Couldn’t it be automated?
You could fully automate in many instances. If you are surface mining and have uninterrupted LoS (Line of Sight) then it would make sense. Unless there are other factors like an unstable planetary magnetic field, etc.
The problem arises when you are a kilometer underground , and have trillions of metric tons of metal ores above you. If you lose mech telemetry for even an instant, it could cause a catastrophic mine collapse and that costs time and money.
Also… I can’t tell a story about mining drones. If there’s no human element, there’s no interest.