May 2007, the Regolith Excavation Challenge promotes the development of new technologies to excavate lunar regolith. The total purse of $250,000 will go to the winning teams excavating the most regolith above 150 kilograms. The mass of the system cannot exceed 40 kilograms and 30 Watts of DC power will be provided to the system.
The mining work would be a lot simpler and more productive if we can deliver and build more power generation on the moon. Here is an analysis for producing solar cells from lunar material Actual experiments have been performed by Alex Freundlich to make lunar glass and 1% efficient solar cells This is examination of large scale lunar solar power
Another $250,000 challenge is the moon ROx challenge. The goal is to produce 5 kilograms of oxygen from simulated lunar soil in continous process within 8 hours.
A study from 2000, on what it would take to make self-sufficient lunar colonies