There are so many points here that are simply wrong.
Quite right - glad somebody brought up the OST as it seems to have been largely forgotten in the blind rush to repeat all the same mistakes that we've already made on Earth.
The principles in the Artemis Accords -- NASA's statement on the US approach to lunar development and resource extraction -- build directly on the OST, offering clarity and doubling down on this historic international treaty. In NASA's own words, the Accords represent "a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy."
Perhaps you're thinking of the Moon Agreement, which the Accords do explicitly
refute, as they are ambiguous, overly restrictive, and de-incentivize space economic development. Of course, the Moon Agreement is widely considered defunct by all major space powers, none of whom are party to it.
No one has the right to "claim" anything in space, not a country, nor a company, nor an individual.
Again, this is simply inaccurate. I recommend reading the OST before using it to back your points. Resources can arguably be claimed by non-state actors under the OST, though discussions to clarify this are underway, and some countries have passed national law that does so.
Article II states that "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means." While nations
are forbidden to claim territory,
the OST says nothing about private actors and resources. This is a grey area commonly compared to the Law of the Sea, in which no nation can own the ocean, but they may own the fish they catch from the ocean; similarly, actors are not prohibited from claiming and owning resources they may mine from the territory, so long as they do not claim ownership over the territory itself.
It is the customary position of international lawmaking bodies that if a treaty does not expressly forbid an activity, then the activity should tacitly be considered legal; otherwise, the treaty would have included it.
Now, sure, the Moon Agreement goes so far as to forbid essentially any
actor from ownership of celestial bodies and their resources.
But again, it's defunct, nonbinding, toothless, and irrelevant.
Space should be the preserve of all mankind as stated in the OST
Again incorrect. Space itself is not the province or common heritage of all mankind. This is commonly misquoted.
The actual text of Article I reads: "The exploration and use
of outer space... shall be the province of all mankind." No nation is forbidden from engaging in space exploration and development, hence the "free access" clause... but certainly no nation is compelled to give away its material profits to all nations. This exploration and use "shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries"; initial lunar economic development by one or several nations, so long as they do not deliberately exclude access to other nations, opens opportunities for less-developed nations to participate, and therefore it can certainly be argued this in the best interest of all countries.
What's more, Article IX protects against interference, which may be construed to protect temporary, finite, localized claims rights (potentially including non-interference zones for operational safety) for the purposes of mineral extraction. In any case, it calls for state parties to the treaty to consult internationally with those potentially affected before acting, and several principles in the Artemis Accords suggest this is the desired US course of action in such an event.
The US can't very well turn around to China and criticise that country's actions in the South China Sea on the basis that those islands don't belong to China under international law, and then flout international law (namely the OST)...
Nations are certainly allowed to criticize the illegal invasion and seizure of other nations' sovereign territory. In the case of Chinese military seizure of the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines, the UN ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines, backed by an international coalition of 40 nations. China ignored the finding and proceeded anyway with more warships. What sort of precedent does this behavior set? What does this communicate to the international community about Chinese regard for national legislation when aggressive resource exploitation is concerned?
So far, the US has not breached the OST in pursuit of space resources, so the point is hypothetical at best. The US is currently one of the leading nations when it comes to formulating/advancing international, bilateral space resources legislation.
...to grab finite mineral resources from the Moon or elsewhere the moment it senses a profit to be had.
There are indeed more- and less-advantageous locations that render certain mine sites more profitable than others. This is an important point of contention, and all parties must work together to reach a sustainable, fair solution.
However, the idea that the Moon's mineral resources are "finite", in any practical sense of the term, is completely out of proportion. Speaking for lunar polar ice, where the potential for conflict is highest and most immediate, there is enough there to sustain operations for several millennia. These reserves, such as they can be proved, are hardly in danger of running out in the early years that first-movers might potentially enjoy unilateral access.
If space truly is the "preserve of all mankind" then any resources mined by anyone should be distributed equally among all, and not simply hoarded for profit.
Again, this is not the text of the OST, which does not advocate for the equal distribution
of resources to all nations, regardless of participation. Benefits should certainly be shared, and open access/collaboration encouraged, but equal distribution is a laughable concept that destroys any incentive for any commercially motivated actor, even those with the best intentions, to invest effort into an inherently risky space resources venture.
Finally, let's consider the resources that are really in question. "Hoarding" lunar water does no good for the owner. This isn't a diamond monopoly with a limited, tightly-controlled supply; actors will simply return to launching propellant from Earth at marginally higher cost. The value of water is in its use and sale: using for life support, to enable a greater number of humans to inhabit deep space settlements, and as cryogenic propellants, which bring down launch costs and extend humankind's reach, thus democratizing access to space for developed and less-developed nations alike, leaving all the world's nations in a better position to fulfill the original designs of the OST.