Mining is one of the more lucrative activities in the game with minimal entry requirements. Mining is a low to medium risk activity with high rewards. The only threats to a common miner are minor collisions with asteroids and frequent run-ins with pirate groups that attempt to snatch your valuables by a deployed hatch breaker limpet, but otherwise are uneventful.
Mining in its simplicity is a five step activity which involves scanning and searching for hotspots, prospecting asteroids, extraction and collection and the expenditure of selling your refined minerals to the market.
There are four ways of mining minerals from asteroid belts. You can mine minerals through laser mining, surface abrasion blasting, sub-surface displacement mining and deep core mining. To mine minerals, you'll need a good mining ship.
You might be wondering why we don't have sub-surface mining builds. Sub-surface mining builds are very similar to core mining ship builds, whereby you can replace the Seismic Charge Launchers with Sub Surface Displacement Missiles.
A minimal mining ship should have these following modules installed on their ships:
An optimized mining ship should also carry these modules on their ships to participate in a variety of activities.
There are a lot of moving parts to a miner's firegroup. To put simply, we need to organize all of your mining tools.
If you're in a wing or happen to mine solo, every time you or someone jumps into the same instance as you, either a wing of pirates or a wing of system security ships will spawn in tandem. This happens too if you menu log and come back into your mining instance.
It is recommended to just run away than to fight and start fresh with a new stock of limpets.
There are two types of minerals that get extracted through different kinds of mining, mineral fragments which are extracted through Laser Mining only and mineral chunks, which are extracted through Abrasion Blasting, Sub Surface Displacement Mining, and Deep Core Mining.
When a mineral gets collected by the collector limpet, it gets dispensed directly into a refinery. The refinery is like a sorter, whereby it collects collected minerals and sorts the minerals into its individual hoppers. When the hoppers collect abundant amounts of mining fragment to form a unit of that mineral, the hopper ejects the mineral and stores it in the cargo hold.
In the Navigations Panel in the Contacts Tab, you can blacklist mineral fragments, even mineral fragments with split minerals that prevents the refinery to refine a certain type of mineral. Say if there is a mineral fragment containing both Mineral A and Mineral B:
Finding minerals to mine requires one to source hotspots found at planetary bodies with rings. There are three major contributing factors that affect the content of the minerals found in rings, the reserve level of a ring, the type of ring and any hotspot overlapping.
Reserve levels are broken down into five states which indicates the quality and quantity of the minerals found in the rings.
The higher the reserve level, the higher the percentage of content you will find in the asteroids and the higher the quantity of a commodity you can acquire from each asteroid. The reserve level only affects Laser Mining. The asteroid content percentage purely affects laser mining and not other core mining activities.
There are four distinctive rings types, all of which can be searched in EDTools.cc
The ring type can be found in the planetary information in the systems map.
Each ring type will yield a different set of minerals and materials.
When probing the rings to reveal its hotspots with the Detailed Surface Scanner, locations of hotspots will show up. Not all minerals will have a hotspot and not all rings will have identical hotspot locations.
Hotspots are locations with a particularly high concentration of a particular mineral. This means that no matter what type of mining you are doing you will end up with a better yield for the amount of time you spend mining. This does not mean you'll find a concentration of the same kinds of minerals in this location, you'll find a higher likelihood of the minerals.
Hotspots are indicated by intensity. The closer you are to the center of the hotspot, the higher yield percentage you'll obtain from asteroids. In the Swoilz hotspot image, you can see there are three distinctive lines separating the quality and quantities of minerals found if you happen to drop there.
You may find the closest hotspot using EDTools.cc.
You may encounter hotspot overlaps after probing for hotspots on a ring. Overlaps benefit the rate of the quality and quantity of each mineral that the hotspot overlaps.
In mining, there are terminologies when describing an overlap, a strong overlap and a weak overlap. The names given to the overlaps are the hotspots' minerals and the nunber of overlaps that occur. Take the LTD3 and LTD4 overlaps as an example in the Swoilz PK-R b20-0 system.
Resource Extraction Sites also offer a bonus to your mining yield. In this case, the bonus comes in the form of increasing the number of fragments that are generated by each asteroid. In the case of a Hazardous Resource Extraction Site, the amount of fragments doubles the amount you get from each asteroid. However, this bonus only applies within 20 km of the Resource Extraction Site's navigation marker, and also necessitates dealing with the pirates which will come to investigate your efforts.
While it is certainly possible to mine in Resource Extraction Sites, the need to either avoid the pirates, or kill them makes the operation much more complex to perform efficiently. As such many people choose to avoid these locations.
You can mine any minerals there exists on the market, however, miners are obsessive over high net returns so there are a selective amount of minerals miners will go after.
This is a basic chart of the more lucrative minerals found in different types of rings.
|Approx Price / Ton
|Laser Mined In
|Core Mined In
|Icy, Rocky, Metal-Rich
|Low Temperature Diamonds
|Rocky, Metallic, Metal-Rich
And here is a more detailed chart showing the minerals that can be found as hotspots, what minerals can be found within the same ring type, and the mineral that can be found by lasering, surface abrasion blasting, sub-surface displacement mining, and deep core mining.
How much should I bring?
Fill your all the space in your cargo with Limpets.
If you run out of room for your refined minerals, abandon some limpets, they are rather cheap.
There are four mining practices a miner uses to extract minerals from asteroids:
Laser Mining is a very simple mining play style whereby the miner uses Mining Lasers to dislodge tiny fragments of minerals from surfaces of asteroid bodies. For laser mining, you just need:
To mine efficiently using mining lasers, you need to understand the ratio of number of lasers to the number of collectors being sent out and how big your distributor size is to adequately elongate your mining journey without sending out a large amount of limpets. The general advise is to use the 2D mining lasers and run 4x the number of limpets that you have lasers.
Due to the fact that there are diminishing returns for more mining lasers, there is an optimal point for each size of power distributor. And because is some of these cases the distributor rather than the lasers are the limiting factor the number of required collectors changes too.
So, the following gives you the optimal number of 2D lasers to run for each distributor and gives the time required to mine 35 fragments with optimal setups. Note that this assumes no engineering of your power distributor. Fully engineering the distributor to G5 charge enhanced with super conduits will make your distributor equivalent to one two sizes larger.
Collector limpet numbers assume reasonably optimal alignment for collectors meaning collector turnaround time is around 10s so you need 10x the number of fragments per second being mined.
1A Distributor :
2A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 1A Distributor)
3A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 2A Distributor)
4A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 3A Distributor)
5A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 4A Distributor) -2x Lasers (45s)
6A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 5A Distributor)
7A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 6A Distributor)
8A Distributor : (Grade 5 Modified 7A Distributor)
In a wing, laser mining generally has its advantages. Wing mates can distribute limpets around if they find one miner to have an abundant amount of limpets to lose, and one miner who has a loss of limpets.
Prospector limpets will display total yield percentage per client, and not globally. If one miner's prospector limpet information reads a depleted asteroid, the other miners may not have the same information readout. This makes anyone who fills up slower during the wing mining run, fill incredibly faster near the end of the run.
This feature of the prospector limpet only works for laser mining only.
Sub surface mining uses the Sub-Surface Displacement Missiles to displace deposits underneath the surfaces of asteroids. Sub-surface mining also requires the utilization of the Abrasion Blasters to dislodge any surface deposits. For sub surface mining, you'll need:
Deep core mining uses the seismic charge launchers to detonate a fissure asteroid which dislodges core chunks from the center of the asteroid. Deep Core Mining also uses the Abrasion Blaster in tandem with the Seismic Charge Launchers. For deep core mining, you'll need:
After extracting, collecting, and refining, it is now time to sell your mined goods to the market. If you're planning on a long-trip from an out of reach mining hotspot, it is generally a good idea to sacrifice some cargo racks for a fuel scoop and/or a guardian frame shift drive booster. Travelling with a shield generator is also recommended as pirates will hunt your ship's full of goods along the way.
Selling minerals to the market is rather difficult as different markets from different systems offer different prices for the same minerals. Without the help of a third party website like EDDB.io or INARA.cz will make this trek very difficult and highly risky without a place to exchange your refined minerals for credits. When looking for a suitable market to sell your commodity to there are some key components to look at.
Market information for Void Opals in INARA.cz:
Market information for Void Opals in EDDB.io:
Last updated is the time of when the market's been last updated by a user using a EDDN Listener like ED Market Connector or ED Discovery. Generally when searching a suitable market, anything as recent as 6 hours ago would have a somewhat accurate reading on the prices offered at the market. However, the longer the timer since the market was updated, the more inaccurate the market information will be.
Demand is the next thing you'll want to look at. Demand is the amount of minerals that the station is offering to pay for that amount. If you over supply a demand, you will get paid less than what the price is offered for the same commodity. A general tip of advice is to look for
Landing Pad Size
Landing Pads are another restrictive property you'll have to pay attention to. Stations and outposts are split between Medium and Large sized Landing Pads. If you're in a Large Sized ship, you cannot land at an outpost. You can transfer commodities from one ship to the other however, if the ship you are attempting to transfer over has smaller cargo space than your current one, you'll need to abandon some commodities before you can transfer to a different ship.
Price is the final thing you'll want to worry about, unless you are super greedy about finding the station with the highest sell prices. Generally, it is better to sell your commodities that a safer, more guaranteed but cheaper market, than a more sporadic, non-guaranteed but highly paid market. The more time you spend looking for a station to sell your mined minerals, the more risk you carry as you'll be hunted by pirates, and may lose all hope in selling your goods.
If you are mining in a wing, you'll get a credit bonus than if you are mining solo when you turn in your profits at the same time, in the same instance.