Elesium ore was a mineral used as a component in the fuel that blasted a ship into hyperspace. Fuel with a higher percentage of elesium ore was more efficient and safer. Studies showed that the risk ratio of pilots using elesium-enriched fuel dropped by 6-7%, and therefore about 40 million fewer human pioneers got splattered every week.
Harmonious 14 Zink wanted to claim general mining rights on Erratoon, after he discovered it there using a personal scan of the planetoid. Had he been successful in obtaining mining rights before others also discovered the rich deposits, his return on investment would have been significantly increased. (AUDIO: The Prisoner's Dilemma)