POSTOUVIN - The Scope has learned that Astral Mining has lost contact with a prospecting facility in the region of Solitude, after a complete communications blackout was put in place from on board the platform several hours ago.
The corporation has confirmed that the facility, which specializes in high value Nocxium extraction and refining, initially issued a distress call to its headquarters at around 08:00 NEST, reporting details of widespread disruption and rioting. The distress call was silenced and reported as a hoax around fifteen minutes later, before the facility went completely dark less than an hour later.
Commander Audere Esmoreures, the corporation's Regional Security Director for Solitude, released a statement approximately an hour ago appealing for calm among the interstellar press and the families of more than eight million believed to still be on board, before pledging to deliver further information as soon as more is known about the situation.
In the statement, Esmoreures elaborated on the purpose of the facility, stating that "the RP4 extraction and refining facility was set up almost fifty years ago, after Astral Mining discovered a small but dense asteroid field trapped in orbit of Postouvin IV that was found to be rich in Nocxium deposits."
Commenting further on the installation's safety record, he said "RP4 has one of the best safety records of any of our larger class extraction and refining facilities, with no major accidents reported since YC117. It refines and processes Radiant Hemorphite, which is considered a relatively stable and safe to handle raw material."
Closing his statement to the interstellar press from on board the Astral Mining mineral reserve in Heluene, he confirmed that "a security task force has been dispatched to RP4 in order to ascertain the nature of the communications blackout" and that "the families of those on board will be notified as soon as we have further information, and a statement to the press will be forthcoming."
When questioned regarding the sudden nature of the blackout, and the fact that images of the facility have circulated in the press with all docking bays sealed and lit up with no access beacons, Director Esmoreures declined to comment further, repeating previous statements that the situation on board was "still completely unknown".