Exporting Helium-3 material from the Moon carries a heavy cost of transportation, which will vary greatly once the Moon is industrially developed.  Helium-3 can be found in the Lunar regolith in quantities of 0.01 ppm to 0.05 ppm, depending on the soil.  Because of the low concentrations of helium-3 on the Moon, any mining equipment would need to process extremely large amounts of regolith (over 150 million tonnes of regolith to obtain one ton of helium 3), and some proposals have suggested that helium-3 extraction be piggybacked onto a larger mining and development operation.  

In 2006 He-3 had a market price of about $46,500 per troy ounce ($1500/gram, $1.5M/kg), more than 120 times the value per unit weight of gold and over eight times the value of rhodium.  Current US industrial consumption of Helium-3 is approximately 60,000 liters per year; cost at auction has typically been approximately $100/liter although increasing demand has raised prices to as much as $2,000/liter in recent years.  Helium-3 is naturally present in small quantities due to radioactive decay, but virtually all helium-3 used in Earth industry is manufactured.  Current supplies of helium-3 come, in part, from the dismantling of nuclear weapons where it accumulates, however the need for warhead disassembly is diminishing.  If commercial fusion reactors were to use helium-3 as a fuel, they would require tens of tonnes of helium-3 each year to produce a fraction of the world's power. 

There are predictions that Mercury's soil may contain large amounts of helium-3, which could become an important source of clean nuclear fusion energy on Earth and a driver for the future economy of the Solar System.  Mercury is also theorized to have a crust rich in iron and magnesium silicates, in which Mercury would be the ideal place for helium-3 extraction to be piggybacked onto a larger mining and development operation.

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