Advanced mining

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Contents

This guide was originally written by Halada and has been modified to reflect current server settings, prices, etc. The formatting has also been updated to work with the wiki.

Guide is under update process to reflect Retribution 1.1 patch changes ( mainly ship bonuses and prices )

WARNING! This article is now outdated as massive mining ship rebalancing invalidated most of the information related to ship choice. On the other hand basic informations (ore, refining etc) should remain valid

Mining 101

The basics of mining in EVE are quite simple: almost every system has asteroid belts, in those asteroids are various kinds of ore to be mined, and that ore can then be refined into minerals which are then used by manufacturers to build all sorts of things in the EVE universe. Mining lasers are used to harvest ore from asteroids, and large cargo holds are required to haul ore from the belt to a nearby station.

In Empire (regions which have a security status of 0.5 to 1.0), the most common types of asteroids are Veldspar, Scordite and Pyroxeres. They yield the most basic minerals which are Tritanium, Pyerite and Mexallon. The quantity of minerals you will get from refining your mined ore depends of the refining skills you have and the standings you have toward the corporation owning the station where the ore is refined.

EVE offers a wide array of mining ships and equipment, some of which are much more efficient than others. Throughout this guide we will discover what they are, and what they do. However, first we need to cover the basics of mining.

Asteroid Belts & Ores

As previously mentioned, almost every system has asteroid belts, some more belts than others and some better asteroid types than others. The rule is that the lower the security status of a system, the better the quality of the asteroids (although not necessarily, quantity).

If you are new to EVE, I suggest you read more about security status and how it affects your gameplay. You will not go into a low sec system with the same ship and setup as you would in a 1.0 system. (You could, but that would be foolish!) However, this is not the subject of this guide and I will not cover it here so do your homework before you make a mistake that will cost you dearly. You are relatively safe in 0.5-1.0 systems since Concord will come to your aid if you are attacked. However, you are never completely safe from ore thieves and suicide gankers, who will suicide their cheap ships to kill your expensive ship.

Now, on to mining. We call every ore found in 0.1-1.0 systems a "Low-end", and the ores which are exclusive to 0.0 (null) systems "High-ends." As you may have guessed, high-ends (namely, Bistot, Arkonor, Mercoxit, Gneiss and Crokite) yield the best and most lucrative minerals in EVE. This doesn't mean that all low-ends are not worth mining, since some are worth more than others, and because these minerals are still important to most manufacturing activities. There is also ice, which is most often utilized for corps running one or more POS setups.

Some ore can only be found in particular systems. For example, Jaspet can only be found in 0.4 systems in Gallente or Amarr space. You will not find it in any Caldari or Minmatar space. Note that all ore types can be found in null systems. You will find everything from Veldspar to Mercoxit in null systems, but not all null systems contain every ore type.

Ore grid(dark).png

It's also important to mention that each ore has two variations. The first variant will give extra 5% minerals when refining, and the second variant will give an extra 10%. Here's a table with each ore's variations:

Ore +5% Variant +10% Variant
Veldspar Concentrated Veldspar Dense Veldspar
Scordite Condensed Scordite Massive Scordite
Pyroxeres Solid Pyroxeres Viscous Pyroxeres
Plagioclase Azure Plagioclase Rich Plagioclase
Omber Silvery Omber Golden Omber
Kernite Luminous Kernite Fiery Kernite
Jaspet Pure Jaspet Pristine Jaspet
Hemorphite Vivid Hemorphite Radiant Hemorphite
Hedbergite Vitric Hedbergite Glazed Hedbergite
Gneiss Iridescent Gneiss Prismatic Gneiss
Dark Ochre Onyx Ochre Obsidian Ochre
Spodumain Bright Spodumain Gleaming Spodumain
Crokite Sharp Crokite Crystalline Crokite
Bistot Triclinic Bistot Monoclinic Bistot
Arkonor Crimson Arkonor Prime Arkonor
Mercoxit Magma Mercoxit Vitreous Mercoxit

Minerals

Minerals are refined from the ore you mine. There are 8 kinds of minerals, 3 high-end types and 5 low-ends. Low-ends include Tritanium, Pyerite, Mexallon, Isogen and Nocxium.

High-ends minerals include Zydrine, Megacyte and Morphite. High-ends minerals can of course only be refined from high-end ores, which can only be found in 0.0 (some in low-sec, refer to grid in section 1.1), which explains why their price is much higher than low-ends. Here is a table that shows which ore gives which kind of minerals:

Ore Batch Tritanium Pyerite Mexallon Isogen Nocxium Megacyte Zydrine Morphite
Veldspar 333 1,000
Scordite 333 833 416
Pyroxeres 333 844 59 120 11
Plagioclase 333 256 512 256
Omber 500 307 123 307
Kernite 400 386 773 386
Jaspet 500 259 259 518 259 8
Hemorphite 500 212 212 424 28
Hedbergite 500 708 354 32
Gneiss 400 171 171 343 171
Dark Ochre 400 250 500 250
Spodumain 250 700 140 140
Crokite 250 331 331 663
Bistot 200 170 170 341
Arkonor 200 300 333 166
Mercoxit 250 530

Here is how you should interpret the above table:

Let's start with the batch. Quite simply, the batch is the number of units you will need for every refinement. The numbers you see in every mineral's column is the quantity of minerals you will get per batch with a perfect refine. Let's use Omber refining as an example to make it clearer:

Omber has a batch of 500. Say you mined 3467 units, and you hauled it back to a station which has a refinery. For every 500 units, if you have a perfect refining yield of 100% (yes, it is possible), you will get 307 units of Tritanium, 123 units of Pyerite and 307 units of Isogen. If you divide 3467 by 500, you will end up having 6 batches, and 467 units of Omber leftover.

This is a simple analogy, as you might have to pay taxes (paid in units of mineral during a refine) depending on your standing with the corporation owning the station and your skills. The refining system will be covered later in another section, however this table is very useful to know which asteroid you should mine depending of the minerals you need.

What Should I Mine Then?

Since the value of minerals fluctuate daily following a supply/demand curve, it would be pointless to say "this mineral is always in high-demand, so mine that!" [1] has an excellent market report on minerals, with statistics up to the last 180 days. If you want to enter the mineral trading business (which is, I warn you, a very hard hobby) or simply be efficient, you should familiarize yourself with this great website. No matter what you mine, there will ALWAYS be demand for it. Since the introduction of capital ships in the Red Moon Rising expansion, mineral consumption significantly rose, so don't worry about whether you are mining the MOST lucrative ores; you won't be stuck with overstock, ever!

The Beginning of a Miner's Career

Ok, so you just started playing EVE, you are very motivated, but completely lost. We just looked at what you can mine, and what it will give you. You are however in your Ibis of Doom™ and cannot figure out where to go. That's normal. That's why you're reading this section, right?

Before you do ANYTHING else, I highly suggest you do the tutorial missions if you haven't already done so to familiarize yourself with the game mechanics and tools. Another excellent reason for running through the tutorials is that the tutorial agent will give you ISK and rewards, maybe even an implant, which you can also sell for ISK, which will give you the capital you need to get started in the mining profession. Another alternative is to join a corporation and have them help you learn the ropes. Regardless of which option you choose, you will need some ISK before you can start mining in a serious way.

Your First Ship

ORE Mining Frigate

The best mining ship for starters is without a doubt the ORE Mining Frigate, the Venture. Unlike the noobship for each faction, the Venture requires you train the skill Mining Frigate to fly. If a player runs the tutorial missions, the Industrial Tutorial will provide a single Venture for free.

To this end, I suggest that you train:

  1. Mining Frigate to level two
  2. Mining to level one
  3. Mining Frigate to level four
  4. Mining to level four

Since the Mining Frigate skill gives 20% to the yield of lasers at level four, the single day it will take you to train Mining Frigate four is the quickest route to increasing yield. After that, training Mining to level four will allow you to use the Tech II Miner II, which is an improvement over the Tech I counterpart.

For the moment, you should fit 2x Miner Is on your Venture. The modules you fit in the medium slots really are unimportant to mining since no medium slot modules will increase your mining yield in the game. You can also train the skill [Mining Upgrades] to one and try fitting a Mining Laser Upgrade I (+5% to mining yield per laser) in one of your low slots. Whether it will fit or not will depend of your Electronics skill level.

You should mine in your Venture until you get Mining Frigate to four and your Mining skill trained to level four.

For the moment keep stockpiling the ore you get, you will get better offers for your ore/minerals in larger quantities.

The Basic Mining Techniques

There are two basic courses of action to take when mining. The first is to fill your cargo hold with ore, and then fly back to a station to unload it. Unfortunately, this technique is quite time consuming. The alternative technique is to perform the technique called jetcan mining.

To Jetcan mine, fill your cargo hold with ore, then jettison the ore into space. This will create a jettisoned can, (jetcan), with a capacity of 27,500m3. As you continue mining, move the ore from your cargo hold to the jetcan. When the can is full, switch to an industrial, (commonly called a hauler). Industrial class vessels are specialized with large cargo capacity to transport goods. Make sure you haul or refresh your can at least once every 90 minutes. Jet cans will expire and pop (disappear) around the two hour mark.

The main drawback about using this technique is that anyone can open your can and steal your ore. If someone does steal something from your can, they will start flashing red in your overview, which means you will be allowed to shoot them without Concord interfering. You can also gang yourself with corpmates to hunt him down, your entire corporation (if a Player Run Corporation) will be allowed to fire on the thief for 15 minutes. However, fleet members, (who are in a different corporation) will not be allowed to fire on the can thief unless he has committed a crime against them as well. This technique is called can flipping and a common way to get miners into fights in high security space.

Industrial Ships

Iteron Industrial

Each race as its own set of haulers. What is great about EVE is that you are not limited to fly only one race. Instead, I suggest training for a Iteron Mark V (Gallente). After Odyssey, it requires Gallente Industrial 1, and as you level Gallente Industrial to 5 your cargo space will increase as well.


The Iteron Mark V will hold 38433 m3 with 5x Expanded cargohold I modules and 5x Giant Secure Containers. Why the GSC ? Simply because they use 3000m3 of cargo space, but can hold 3900m3, which means for every can you can fit in your cargo, you will get an extra 900m3 of cargo.

Joining a Corp

Joining a corp is not mandatory, but it can be very, very helpful. There is no valid excuse for not doing so. Many corporations will accept players with casual playing times, or newbies... there are so many corps out there, you are bound to find one that will fit your playing style. If worse comes to worse, just leave the corp and find a new one! If you don't know where to start, have a look at the recruitment forum, or join the in-game channel eve-university, which is a great place to ask questions and get help!

Selling your Ore

At the very beginning of the game, refining the ore you mine yourself would result in too big a financial loss. Your refining skills will be too low at this point (if you have any) to recoup the costs associated with refining. You could sell the unrefined ore, but I don't suggest doing that either. Why?

About 90% of the time, buy orders on the market for ores reflect a much lower value than what your ore is actually worth. Those setting buy orders are well aware that some miners either don't understand the trading system or don't care about the lower prices, and will just sell their ores at any price. The buyer will then collect the ore and refine it. It's not dishonest and it can be a lucrative trading strategy for more advanced players, but that's not what we're interested in here. Unfortunately, this trading behavior can really burn holes in your wallet since you are not getting the full value of the work you put in to acquire the ore. Joining a corp helps here because there is probably someone in your corp that will be able to get a very good (even if not perfect) refine return on your ores for little or no cost to you. (Many corp players would prefer to help out their corporation teammates for free to bolster the respect of other team members of the corp rather than extort miniscule sums of ISK from newbies.)

If you insist on playing solo, get Refining 4 and it will help you get your refining costs down by a large amount. The WORST thing you can do is just right click -> sell and accept without even looking at the price you are getting. This is the most common mistake. Open the market and look at the buy orders - don't be lazy! Each mineral unit has a volume of 0.01 m3 (compared to ore, which take up significantly more space in cargo holds) so they really are easy to move around! Don't be afraid to stockpile minerals so that you can maximize your trips to systems offering the best prices! Knowing the market is the key to making ISK as a miner or trader, so don't go blind-selling the ore that you put so much effort into mining!

Your First Cruiser

Osprey Cruiser

Osprey no longer has mining bonuses.


So, you finally got Caldari Frigate 4 and Mining 4. The next step of the chain is to get a cruiser.

The Osprey is a very nice ship, very affordable. I suggest training Caldari Cruiser 3 immediately. Caldari Cruiser 4 will not be wasted time, but if you just started, you might want to invest the 4 or 5 days it would take you into other skills, like Engineering and Electronics for example.

As for fitting the Osprey, it is pretty straightforward. 3x T2 Miners in the high slots, you can fit a tank in the med slots if you want as the Osprey can handle itself in 0.6 systems with a heavy launcher and some drones. As usual in the low slots fit as many mining upgrades as you can. One will fit for sure, two will fit with good skills (Electronic 5, Mining Ugrades 4).

Next step is to get Astrogeology 4. It will give you another 20% bonus to your yield and is required for the next step of the chain, which is a Mining Barge (covered later).

After you reach Astrogeology 4, you will be faced with a choice. You can either get Caldari Cruiser 4 and/or Mining 5 (both will require about the same time to train). Mining 5 is a good investment for sure. If you plan to go for a Barge right away, than getting Caldari Cruiser to 4 is not necessary as you are not very far from your first mining barge at this point (5 or 6 days). If you would like to also train some PvP skills before though, than getting Caldari Cruiser 4 is a good idea.

The next step will be either a Battleship or a Mining Barge. The fourth section is dedicated to this important next step and will explain the pros and cons of both to help you in your decision.

The Different Mining Lasers

There are many types of mining lasers, and it can be quite confusing for the newcomers, so here's a summary of what they are and what they are used for:

Type Usage Mercoxit
Standard Mining Laser Usable on any ship with a turret slot. Generally used to mine low level ore using a low skill character. No
Deep Core Mining Laser Usable on any ship with a turret slot. Can be used to mine Mercoxit or any other ore. Yes
Modulated Deep Core Mining Laser Usable on any ship with a turret slot. Can be used to mine Mercoxit or any ore. Can utilize mining crystals to increase mining yield. Yes
Strip Miner Usable on any mining barge or exhumer. Can be used to mine everything but Mercoxit. No
Modulated Strip Miner Usable on any mining barge or exhumer. Can be used to mine everything but Mercoxit. Can utilize mining crystals to increase mining yield. No
Modulated Deep Core Strip Miner Usable on any mining barge or exhumer. Can be used to mine Mercoxit or any ore. Can utilize mining crystals to increase mining yield. Yes
Ice Harvester Usable on any mining barge or exhumer. Can be used to mine Ice. No
Gas Cloud Harvester Must be fitted on a ship with an available turret hard-point. Can be used to harvest gas clouds. No

Thus ends our introduction into a successful mining career!

Refining

The refining system in EVE is not that complicated, but is not so easy to understand either. Basically, five criteria will affect your refining yield:

  • - Your Refining skill level
  • - Your Refinery Efficiency level (requires Refining 5)
  • - Your standing toward the corporation owning the station where you want to refine at
  • - The refining equipment of the station

Calculating your Yield

The formula to calculate your yield is the following: <math>(StationEquipment+(0.375*(1+RefiningSkill*0.02)*(1+RefineryEfficiencySkill*0.04)*(1+OreProcessingSkill*0.05)))</math>

0.375 is considered "Tinoga's Constant" - Thanks to Tinoga Enterprises Services for figuring this one out. To know the station equipment, open the refinery of the station and look on the right. The yellow rectangle shows the part where the station equipment is given. In the event your standing isn't high enough or you are in an Outpost (player built), you are subject to taxes (shown by the green rectangle), which must be calculated apart from the refining yield. When we talk about the refining yield, we never include the taxes. The yield they give you in the refining window (in this case, 84.5%) is baloney as it doesn't take into account your specialized skills, so ignore it.

You will need a standing of 6.7 or more with the NPC corporation owning the station you want to refine at to get a 0% tax rate. Player controlled stations or Outposts follows another rule, as the corp owning the station can set the tax they want no matter the standing they have toward you.

All NPC/player controlled stations have a station equipment of 50%, while player built Outposts have equipment ranging from 35% to 50%. Revelations introduced outpost upgrades, which can enhance the various utilities available at them. This however, is a costly business the advanced refinery upgrade will cost 100bil to install. Thankfully, as we will see, it is possible to get a 100% refining yield with just 40% equipment, and even with the 35% with the new implant (more later).

If you are too lazy, you can use this refining yield calculator online. As you can see, in most NPC stations (Empire/0.0), having Refining 5, Refinery Efficiency 4 and [Mineral] Ore Processing 1 will fetch you a 100% yield already ! So if you live in Empire, don't go train Refinery Efficiency 5 for nothing and waste 2 weeks of training!

Refining Implants

Revelations 2.2 introduced a new mining implant, the Hardwiring - Zainou 'Beancounter' H60, which reduces recycling waste by 4%. It requires Cybernetic V and can be found on contracts.

This implant will allow you to get a perfect refining yield of 100% in 0.0 with perfect skills, even with the most basic outpost (35%).

From Refining Yield to Reality

Ok so you know your yield, and now you want to calculate how much actual minerals you would get per batch after refining. If you know you will have a 100% refining yield and won't pay any taxes, then simply use the table in section 1.2.1 and you're ready to go! Chances are you won't, so I'll explain how it works. As always, using a concrete example helps, so let's do it again. Let's stay coherent and keep using our Omber example from earlier !

For every 500 units of Omber, you will get 307 units of Tritanium, 123 units of Pyerite and 307 units of Isogen for a perfect refine. But you determined your yield isn't perfect, and instead it's 88% (hypothetically). To know how much mineral you would get, you simply take 88% of each number.

So in our case: <math>0.88*307=270.16=270</math> units of Tritanium, <math>0.88*123=108.24=108</math> units of Pyerite, and <math>0.88*307=270.16=270</math> units of Isogen.

EVE for some reason truncates all values dealing with mineral and ore. This means if you would end up with 270.98 units according to your calculations, you would still only get 270 units and not 271 as your mathematical instinct might believe.

If you need to pay any taxes on top of that, you need to take it off now. Using our screenshot from above with a tax of 10%, we are left with: <math>(100%-10%)*270=243=243</math> units of Tritanium, <math>(100%-10%)*108=97.2=97</math> units of Pyerite, and <math>(100%-10%)*270=243=243</math> units of Isogen.

So, we would end up with 243 units of Trit, 97 units of Pyerite and 243 units of Isogen from our original batch of 500 in our hangar with a refining yield of 88% and a 10% tax. If you mine named variations (+5%/+10%) of an ore, you have to factor that at the beginning of your calculations. So in our first calculation, if we are refining Silvery Omber (+5%) instead of regular Omber, we would calculate 88% of 307 * 1.05=322.35=322 units of Tritanium and not 88% of 307.

Of course there is an excellent ore calculator available online for those not so good with Excel or who are simply lazy!

That's all there is to it really. See... I told you it wasn't that bad

The Math System

Previous sections weren't plagued with mathematical equations. This was my attempt to start softly, but now it's time to be serious. The only way to compare ships is to compare their actual yield and what they are capable of, and this can only be done with math, lots of math (although nothing complicated!). If you can understand the system, then you will be able to apply it to every ship in the game, so there won't be any need to eve-mail me and ask me what yield you would get with the skills you now have! If you do I'll spank you, m'kay?

Skill System

The skill levels in EVE, whatever which skill it is, stack. Concretely, it means the following: using the skill Mining as an example, which gives a 5% bonus to the yield of your mining laser per level, if you trained Mining to level 4, it means you get : 5%*4=20% bonus from the skill Mining at level 4.

The effect of the different skills you trained though have to be multiplied together. Say you have Astrogeology at level 4 (which also gives a 5% bonus per level to your yield) and Mining at level 4, then your net yield would be: Base laser yield * 1.20 * 1.20 = XXX

Using T2 Miners, which has a 60 m3/cycle base yield, you would get: 60 * 1.20 * 1.20 = 86.4 m3/cycle (note that the yield is not truncated nor rounded)

Simple enough? Let's keep going !

Cycles

Cycles determine how many seconds your laser need to complete a full, well "mining cycle". The ore you mined will appear in your cargo at the end of that cycle. Named, T1 and T2 mining lasers have a cycle of 60 seconds (1 minute) and strip mining

lasers (T1 and T2) as well as the Modulated Deep Core Mining Lasers II (MDCM2) have a cycle of 180 seconds (3 minutes). Ice harvesters will be covered in another section, as the whole ice mining system is quite different from the asteroid mining system.

Before we go any further, you should know that strips can only be fitted on Mining Barges or Exhumers. People are often confused with the cycle time and wonder what is the actual benefit of having a longer cycle. The biggest advantage is actually much more practical than it is beneficial...simply put, most of the time, the cargo of your ship will be filled after every cycle, which means if you're using the jetcan mining technique (which you should), you'll be emptying your cargo every minute... which means you'll be doing it 60 times per hour instead of 20 if you're using strip miners. It might not look like a lot now, but it DOES make a difference at the end, believe me.

Cycles and yield interaction

Cycles and yield are directly linked. Because of the cycle time difference between strips and mining lasers, it makes it difficult to directly compare the yield of a barge with the yield of a battleship. We could divide the barge's yield by three to bring it to 60 seconds, or bring both of them on a per hour ratio, but this is not precise because of the way EVE truncates the number of units of ore you get per cycle.

Since we know strips do 20 cycles per hour and mining lasers 60 cycles per hour, to make the comparisons as accurate as possible, we will use Omber as our basic ore comparison unit throughout the guide, and compare how many Omber units a ship would mine per hour compared to another. This will increase accuracy by a small but still important factor.

If the cycle of your mining laser (again, ice harvesters act differently, this will be covered later) is interrupted for whatever reason (the asteroid pops or you stop the laser prematurely) , you will still get ore for the duration of the cycle you mined. For example, if the cycle stops after 30 seconds, you will get 50% of what you normally get for a full cycle.

Here's a table to summarize the different base yield of each laser and their cycle times:

Laser Base Yield Base Cycle Time Approximate Hourly Yield
Miners
Miner I 40 m3 60.00 sec 2,400 m3/h
EP-S Gaussian I Excavation Pulse 42 m3 60.00 sec 2,520 m3/h
Dual Diode Mining Laser I 44 m3 60.00 sec 2,640 m3/h
XeCl Drilling Beam I 47 m3 60.00 sec 2,820 m3/h
Cu Vapor Particle Bore Stream I 49 m3 60.00 sec 2,940 m3/h
Miner II 60 m3 60.00 sec 3,600 m3/h
ORE Miner 60 m3 60.00 sec 3,600 m3/h
Deep Core Mining Laser I 40 m3 60.00 sec 2,400 m3/h
Modulated Deep Core Miner II 120 m3 180.00 sec 2,400 m3/h
ORE Deep Core Mining Laser 40 m3 60.00 sec 2,400 m3/h
Strip Miners
Strip Miner I 540 m3 180.00 sec 10,800 m3/h
Modulated Deep Core Strip Miner II 250 m3 180.00 sec 5,000 m3/h
Modulated Strip Miner II 360 m3 180.00 sec 7,200 m3/h
ORE Strip Miner 540 m3 180.00 sec 10,800 m3/h


For now don't be alarmed about the crystals, they will be covered in another section. It's a nice reference to have for those who are confused about how to calculate your actual ISK/hour rate (more on that in another section).

From Yield to Ore

People are very confused as to the amount of ore they will get when doing a "show info" on their strip or mining laser. It's in fact very simple to find out, you just have to know how. You simply have to divide your yield per cycle by the volume of the ore you're mining, and truncate the result.

Again, here's an example with Omber. Using a hypothetical yield of 1789.67me/cycle,

the amount of Omber you would get per cycle is: 1789.67/0.6 = 2982.78 units or 2982 units/cycle

So you would end up with 2982 units of Omber in your cargo after every cycle...simple enough, isn't it? And you thought I'd kill your brains!

This ends our third section. Hopefully I haven't melted too many neurons. If so feel free to get drunk and come back later !

Yield per Cubic Meter

Since mining lasers always mine the same volume of ore throughout their cycle, regardless of the number of units in that volume, a more useful measure of how many minerals you are actually mining over a given period of time can be determined from the refining yield per m³ of ore, rather than per batch. This also makes calculating the transport and storage needs of your future minerals simpler, as well.

The following table shows the yield per m³ of each type of basic ore.

Ore Volume (m³) Per Batch Tritanium per m³ Pyerite per m³ Mexallon per m³ Isogen per m³ Nocxium per m³ Megacyte per m³ Zydrine per m³ Morphite per m³
Veldspar 33.3 30.03003003
Scordite 49.95 16.67667668 8.328328328
Pyroxeres 99.9 8.448448448 0.590590591 1.201201201 0.11011011
Plagioclase 116.55 2.196482196 4.392964393 2.196482196
Omber 300 1.023333333 0.41 1.023333333
Kernite 480 0.804166667 1.610416667 0.804166667
Jaspet 1,000 0.259 0.259 0.518 0.259 0.008
Hemorphite 1,500 0.141333333 0.141333333 0.282666667 0.018666667
Hedbergite 1,500 0.472 0.236 0.021333333
Gneiss 2,000 0.0855 0.0855 0.1715 0.0855
Dark Ochre 3,200 0.078125 0.15625 0.078125
Spodumain 4,000 0.175 0.035 0.035
Crokite 4,000 0.08275 0.08275 0.16575
Bistot 3,200 0.053125 0.053125 0.1065625
Arkonor 3,200 0.09375 0.1040625 0.051875
Mercoxit 10,000 0.053

Mining Barge or Battleship?

This is one of the most popular question. Should you head for a battleship or a mining barge? What's the difference ? Which is better? All those questions will be answered in this section.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is the following: do you want to PvP sometimes as well, or are you aiming at a professional mining career and want to concentrate your character only on improving its equipment and yield until you achieve perfection (yes, there is such a thing!) ?

If you are unsure for now, then aiming at a battleship isn't a bad idea. A battleship will mine as well as the medium mining barge (Retriever) if not outmine it depending of the BS you fly (more on that later), and the training for both at this point is more or less equal... if you know however that you want to be very serious about it, then heading directly for the Retriever is a better idea. Now is the time to use the math explained in section 3 ... Let's see if you really got it !

The Battleship Way

The two most popular battleships for mining are, since Revelation, the Apocalypse (Amarr, tier 2) and the Rokh (Caldari, tier 3). Although the golden banana has held first place in best mining battleship for a long time, the Rokh is now the master in this class.

Both have 8 turret slots, however the Rokh has much more CPU, allowing him to fit one more MLU than the Apoc, and still enough to fit a tank as well. In the last version of this guide, the Dominix was covered here, as it was a better contender for 0.0 mining. The Rokh however now fits this bill as well, so the Dominix will no longer be covered.

No battleships in existence have a bonus to your mining yield, so it really comes down to the turret slots and the CPU at this point. Since the Rokh and the Apoc really are preferred, this section will concentrate on those two ships.

I'll assume you have the skills I suggested you train in the first section already trained, which would be Mining 4, Astrogeology 4. If you have no intention in getting a barge, then you will need Mining Upgrades 4 to fit as many Mining Laser Upgrades (MLU) as possible on your battleship (it will however not help you on a barge). I will also assume you have Electronics 5 already. Mining setups are very heavy on CPU, so if you don't already, get it ASAP.

Take note that MLU is the only factor allowing a battleship to compete with the Retriever. Without them, the Retriever will actually be superior in all cases.

The Apocalypse

Apocalypse Battleship

This nice golden banana (sorry) can fit 8x T2 Miners and 3x MLU (you will need 4x Co-Processors II for this to fit though, and you'er left with 18 CPU, so no space for a tank at all).

So let's see what kind of yield we will get:

60*1.2*1.2*1.05^3¹ = 100.0188 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 100.0188/0.6 = 166.698 or 166 units of Omber/cycle (per laser)

Since you're fitted with 8 mining lasers, you will be getting 1328 units of Omber per cycle, or 79,680 units of Omber per hour. In short, the Apoc gives a 20.95% improvement over the Domi. Yeah ok, it's something.

¹ Mining Laser Upgrades give a 5% bonus to your yield per module, but their effect must be exponentially calculated instead of stacked.

The Rokh

Rokh Battleship

The Rokh got released with Revelations, and it is without doubt a nice battleship. It is even nicer when you know it outmines the Apocalypse since it can fit an extra MLU, for a total of four, while having still a bit of CPU to fit a medium shield booster, or perhaps shield extender. If you wish to keep only 3x MLU, then you have PLENTY of CPU to fit a very good tank. Do not forget the drone bay (you can have 5x T2 medium drones in there) for extra protection. For the purpose of this guide, we will use a full mining Rokh setup, but you should know the Rokh is superior to the Apocalypse in every way as a mining platform.

So let's see what kind of yield we will get:

60*1.2*1.2*1.05^4 = 105.01974 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 105.01974/0.6 = 175.0329 or 175 units of Omber/cycle (per laser)

Since you're fitted with 8 mining lasers, you will be getting 11400 units of Omber per cycle, or 84,000 units of Omber per hour. Yeah, it's not a whole lot more, but it's a bit more than the Apoc making the Rokh the best mining battleship.

The Barge Way

Before we go any further, you must know that the Procurer sucks. The Osprey will outmine it, so the first barge you will go for will be the Retriever.

The Retriever

Retriever Mining Barge

A big advantage of the retriever is that it uses strip miners, which means a longer cycle (less dragging) and is MUCH cheaper than a battleship.

I will assume here you trained Mining Barge to level 4 (5% bonus to ore hold capacity) even though you only need level 1 to fly the retriever, as every little bit helps. I'll also assume you trained Astrogeology to level 5, since it'll be required for the Covetor! While we're at it, since you're serious about mining, you will also have invested the time in training Mining to level 5 as well.


Let's see what kind of yield a retriever can fetch with 3x MLU

540 * 1.25 * 1.25 * 1.5 * 1.15 = 1455.46 m3/cycle

Using Omber, this means 1455.46 /0.6 = 2425.76 or 2425 units of Omber/cycle (per strip) Since you're fitted with 2 strip miners, you will be getting 4850 units of Omber per cycle, or 97,000 units of Omber per hour. This is 21.73% more than the Apoc, and 46.17% more than the Domi.

As you can see, the Retriever and the Dominix are pretty much on the same level, while the Apoc has a small but noticeable advantage over the mid-size barge. This is nothing to be too alarmed with, as in a month or so you will be flying a Covetor and thanking yourself you trained yourself to fly barges! For the casual miner though, without any real interest in the profession, an Apoc with the proper use of MLU and Co-Processors will offer a nice mining platform without too much training.

The Covetor

Covetor Mining Barge

The Covetor is a very, very nice mining ship. Also much cheaper than a battleship (5 times cheaper than the Apoc actually) and fetches an awesome yield. Although the training might seem extensive, it will absolutely be worth it at the end.

Notably because of its 3rd strip miner, the Covetor is nice, nice - very nice.

So let's see what kind of yield we will get:

540*1.25*1.25*1.05^2*1.20 = 1116.28 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 1116.28/0.6 = 1860.46 or 1860 units of Omber/cycle (per strip)

Since you're fitted with 3 strip miners, you will be getting 5580 units of Omber per cycle, or 111,600 units of Omber per hour'. This is a 15,05% increase over the retriever already, and a 40,06% increase over the Apoc.

Crystals

There are many misconceptions about mining crystals, as to how they work and if they truly are worth it. To make the matter worse, when you do a show info on your laser, the information is not so clearly displayed, and the EVE-O database has false information... We will set the record straight right now!

There are T1 and T2 mining crystals for every ore in the game. However the crystals for mining Mercoxit work differently than the rest, and they will be covered in section 10 of this guide where Mercoxit mining will covered in details. You should know there are no crystals for ice mining, so don't try go look for them ^_^

Before Revelations, all crystals had the same pre-requisites, that is, the ones high-end 0.0 ore crystals need. This discouraged many casual miners, as the training for those is as long as for the Covetor...CCP responded by changing those pre-requisite skills depending on the class of ore you mine... whether you want to train for them or not is your decision.

How they work is quite simple: they are inserted in the T2 variants of strip miners, or the MDCM2 which can be fitted on any ship. Simply put, the T1 version of a crystal will increase the base yield of the laser by 62.5%, while the T2 version of the crystal will increase the base yield by 75%. However, the actual increase to your yield isn't 75%, as the T2 variants of mining lasers have a lower base yield than their T1 counterparts. Nevertheless, crystals do bring an advantage, as we will see now.

As we've seen earlier, mining lasers or strip miners which use crystals have a lower base yield than their counterparts. They WILL work without crystals, the yield will however be considerably lower than their T1 counterpart without crystals, so don't be stupid; use the T1 versions until you can use crystals.

To use T1 crystals, you will need the skills mentioned above, and the [Metal] Ore Processing to level 3, for example Omber Processing 3 To use the T2 crystal, you'd need Omber Processing 4.

For the sake of comparison, remember that the T1 strips have a base yield of 540. So T2 strips actually provide a 16.17% bonus to your yield over the T1 strips! But it's also possible to demonstrate this with an example, so here goes!

Say we use our previous Covetor with T2 crystals as an example; for yield we will get:

360*1.25*1.25*1.05^2*1.20*1.75 = 1302.33 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 1302.33 /0.6 = 2170.55 or 2170 units of Omber/cycle (per strip)

Since you're fitted with 3 strip miners, you will be getting 6510 units of Omber per cycle, or 130,200 units of Omber per hour. As we said earlier, this is a 16.67% increase over our previous Covetor fitted with T1 strips.

How do I Read my Yield ?

First you should know the EVE-O database is incorrect, so don't expect to understand how T2 strips work from there. Furthermore, when doing a show info on your T2 strip, there is a lot of information in there and people are very confused.

To know your current actual yield (including all skills and bonuses you are getting), look under "Specialty Crystal Mining Amount" (shown in the screenshot by a green rectangle). Just ignore Mining Amount, it will confuse you and there is no need to make it more complicated.

This puts an end to our crystals section. As you can see the increase is absolutely worth it, and it is a good step to take before going on to the Hulk (if you ever do). Plus crystals can also be used with MDCM2, which fit nicely on a battleship, so if you're an Apoc or Rokh miner, you can benefit from this.

In any case, I suggest you train for crystals right after you got your Covetor.

Achieving perfection

There are many skills and modules that will increase your yield in this game. It is possible for a miner to max those skills and achieve what I like to call, "the Perfect Miner". A perfect miner is someone who has no other possibility to increase his yield.

I deliberately did not list mining foreman links or gang modules, as they CANNOT be fitted on a barge, nor battleship. Those gang modules will be covered in another section, since there are many changes to gang bonuses since Revelations.

Mining Foreman V however is valid, since you can just form a squadron with an alt and you both will receive the bonus, even if you are in a Hulk or a barge.

The mining implants do stack, however as you may have guessed, you cannot plug both the Highwall mining implant and the Foreman mindlink at the same time.

The Michi implant is a COSMOS mission item, which explains why it is a little hard to find and is more expensive. The Highwall implant is easier to come by and is a little more affordable. Whether it's worth it for you to buy these or not, that's yours to decide.

The Mindlink isn't broken

Since Revelations, the mindlink has been fixed, which is nice of course. It's especially nice used along Mining Foreman Links (see section 11), and for squadrons.

It's also a very cool implants, because:

  • 1) It enhances the Mining Foreman skill effectiveness by 50% (so at level 5, your bonus would

end up being 10%*1.5= 15%)

  • 2) It boost the effect of all Mining Foreman Links (the gang mods) by 50%.

Note: the Mining Amount Bonus seen in the attribute window comes from the enhanced Mining Foreman skill effect which is 15% instead of 10%. It is NOT a 15% solo bonus.

The drawback is that you must be in squadron and be the squadron commander for this bonus to affect you. The first bonus will be given to anyone in gang, regardless what ship you are in, while the second one is only useful if you're in a BC/Command Ship with an active Mining Foreman Link gang mod. In terms of bonus, having the Highwall Implant or the Mindlink ends up being the same. The Highwall gives you a direct 5%, while the mindlink boosts mining foreman V by 5% instead. It is however possible to win another 5% like this:

  • 5% from the Michi Implant
  • 5% from the Highwall Implant
  • The extra 5% from the Mining Foreman skill boosted by a squadron commander that had the mindlink instead of you.

In a perfect world you would have a maxed out miner, and a friend (or alt) which has the mindlink plugged in actine as a squadron commander. This is how you'd be what I call "The Perfect Miner".

For the sake of example, let's have a look at what a Covetor will yield with all those skills maxed and those nifty implants (drones aside):

360 * 1.25 * 1.25 * 1.20 * 1.15 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05^2 * 1.75 = 1651.19 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 1651.19 /0.6 = 2751.98 or 2751 units of Omber/cycle (per strip)

Since you're fitted with 3 strip miners, you will be getting 8253 units of Omber per cycle, or 165,060 of Omber per hour. This is a 26.77% increase over our previous Covetor fitted with T2 strips and T2 crystals. To go back even some more, it's a 107.15% increase over the Apoc and 70.16% over our Retriever. Are you starting to think all that investment and training is paying off ?

Oh yes you do... but then, the holy mother of destruction blessed your mining career and sent you on a path of light to the next in evolution... the Hulk.

Upgrades for the riches

Heard of the new mining upgrades CCP first released that were so unbalanced that a Rokh outmined a Hulk? They cost a fortune, people spent millions, and then, silently, were nerfed and did not work. A patch was brought, and their bonuses were changed...those who know what I am talking about might still be crying about it... thank the Gods (hello BSG!) I didn't fall for them.

Just so you know, you can fit two MLU II on a Hulk ... yes, you will need Mining Upgrades IV whereas the other only require Mining Upgrades I, but you will save quite a bit of ISK!


The Mighty Hulk

Hulk Exhumer

It's big, it's sexy, it's powerful... it's the Mighty Hulk™!

Since the introduction of Exhumers in RMR, mining became even more profitable. The very nice thing about Exhumers is that once you can fly a Covetor, you're only a few days of training away from flying an Exhumer.

The Skiff, the Mackinaw and the Hulk each have their area of expertise. The Skiff is used to mine mercoxit, the Mackinaw to mine ice, and the Hulk everything else. Since they're all so different, they each will get their section.

The second biggest question after the battleship vs retriever debate is probably, "is it worth it to buy a Hulk?". At the time I wrote the first version of this guide, it didn't take too long before the prices for Hulks sky rocketed. The demand for them only raised, which means at one point the price for a Hulk actually touched the 500mil ISK figure. However, these days they cost closer to 185 million, making them far more affordable. It is still a big investment, so before we go and get one, we need to know if it's actually worth the price. Well, it is.

Simply put, the Hulk is a freakin' mining monster. His name was not badly chosen. It gets a combined 18% improvement in yield over the Covetor, and can fit such a nasty tank that it will repel rats (even in 0.0) or small gankers (we have already seen interceptors dying to a Hulk).

Where does the 20% come from ? Simply, from Exhumer 5 (10%) and the 2 MLU II the Hulk can fit... We will do the math again, for the heck of it. I assume you went from a "maxed Covetor" to a Hulk in the following equation:

360 * 1.25 * 1.25 * 1.15 * 1.15 * 1.15 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.09^2 * 1.75 = 1961.04 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 1961.04 /0.6 = 3268.39 or 3268 units of Omber/cycle (per strip)

Since you're fitted with 3 strip miners, you will be getting 9804 units of Omber per cycle, or 196,080 units of Omber per hour. This is a 18.79% increase over our previous "maxed" Covetor. To go back to our roots, it's a 102.14% increase to our Retriever at the beginning. Can you say, oh my god?

So in essence, the three or four months of training, ISK and effort you put into your character has brought you a 102.14% increase in your yield. Care to ask me if it was worth it again ?

The Mighty Hulk's Tank

As I suggested when introducing the Hulk, it's not only a good miner, it has a good tank as well. In fact, with the proper fittings, you CAN absolutely solo mine in 0.0 and tank the rats in the belts...

However, I suggest doing this at your own risk. I would NOT AFK solo mine in a Hulk, in case the tank fails somehow or you get ganked. it'll be 800mil ISK and more out the window in a very short time.

This is the setup I used with great success when mining solo in 0.0, until I decided it stressed me too much and I got a Domi alt to tank for me!

  • High-

3x T2 Strips

  • Med-

1x Gistii A-Type Small Shield Booster

1x Eutectic I Capacitor Charge Array

2x Gist B-Type NPC Specific Hardeners

  • Low-

2x MLU

There's a lot to be said about that setup ! First, this is the EXACT setup that works... you can replace the hardeners with the regular T1 named ones (for example, "Anointed I EM Ward Reinforcement"), but the rest must stay as it is. A T2 Cap recharger won't fit on there, the Eutectic is the only thing that will.

Second, don't even think about tanking in your half a billion ISK ship without proper engineering skills. You WILL absolutely need Electronics 5, and cap skills at level 4. This EXACT setup will leave you with 0 CPU (if it doesn't fit, try training Mining Upgrades a few levels) so you must absolutely use faction stuff. The Gistii booster is the key to the whole thing!

Third, you need to stagger the strips (try an interval of 20 seconds) in order for the cap to sustain itself. YOu don't have to if you're using T1 strips though.

Finally, don't be afraid to lose a MLU and replace it with a PDU2, or better, a faction PDU (True Sansha/Dark Blood) to make it a little tougher. If you cannot afford all those mods, don't bother trying to tank in your Hulk. This sub-section was written to show you the Hulk is capable of tanking (and very well indeed), in fact, I tanked triple BS spawns with its cruisers escort... BUT, it is not invincible, and don't come crying to me if you blow it up !

Payback time

It's legitimate to ask yourself how many hours you will need to spend mining to benefit from your purchase. As we established the Hulk almost yield 21% more than the Covetor. Since invention, the prices of Hulks have rapidly fallen. The following example was written when Hulks were still at 500mil ...

Payback will be of course much faster in 0.0 since your ISK/hour ratio is higher. To determine the approximate number of hours you'll need to mine, you have to know the difference in price between a Hulk and a Covetor, and divide it by the difference in ISK you can make per hour between the Hulk and The Covetor.

We will use Bistot to make a clear example, as it is one of the most precious ore in 0.0. At the time of writing this guide, we can estimate the value of one Bistot unit at 10,000 ISK/unit. To figure that out, simply use Eve-Central's daily report on minerals. Multiply the number of units each mineral Bistot gives (refer to the table in section 1.2 of this guide) by the average weighted selling price you found on Eve-central for that mineral, add the values together and you will have a fair price estimate. In our case it's a little more than 10,000 ISK/unit, but since it is usually not possible to get a 100% refine in 0.0 (as we determined earlier), 10,000 ISK/unit is a good estimate.

The difference in price is easy enough to make... a Covetor goes for around 20mil ISK, while a Hulk goes for 100mil ISK at the moment. Therefore the difference is 80mil ISK.

Now to know how many hours you will need to pay back the investment, simply divide 100 by 11.4 which gives you 8.77 hours.

So there you have it, you will need to mine for more or less 8 hours to get back in your money. This is for 0.0 and Bistot of course, just replace Bistot by whatever ore you have access to and you will be able to figure this one out yourself!

Drones

Drones are not to be ignored, since they can significantly raise your ISK/hour ratio. Of course I'm talking about Mining Drones here if you had not understood yet... it is however not a bad idea to have a few combat drones in your drone bay if you have the room in case some pesky interceptor comes at you ...

Before I go any further, I want you to read this VERY carefully and apply it. In fact, if it helps, you can make multiple Post-it and stick them everywhere in your house...

                   STAY AWAY FROM HARVESTER MINING DRONES! 

Although this statement has been heavily criticized since the birth of this guide, I stand by it. I invite you to read the rest to understand why.

As mentioned earlier, two skills influence the yield of your drones , which are Mining Drone Operations and Drone Interfacing. Take note that drones cannot mine Ice or Mercoxit. First, let's have a look at the different drones available.


Drone Velocity Base Yield Base Cycle Time
Mining Drone I 400 m/sec 15 m3 60.00 sec
Mining Drone II 500 m/sec 25 m3 60.00 sec
Civilian Mining Drone 300 m/sec 10 m3 60.00 sec
Harvester Mining Drone 250 m/sec 30 m3 60.00 sec

Anything strikes you? First thing to look at is the speed, and you can see right away that Harvester Mining Drones have fat asses and are VERY slow! What is it important ?

The traveling factor!

Unlike mining lasers, drones must travel from and back to your ship before you get any ore in your cargo. They will need 60 seconds to finish their cycle. Any traveling time to and from the asteroid isn't factored in the cycle time. Simply put, Harvester Mining Drones are twice as slow as T2 Mining Drones, and yet, their base yield is only 20% better... and they cost 20 times as much as T2 Mining Drones!

See section 8.2 for further details and explanations.

What Drones Do For You

Much like the yield of lasers, the yield of each drone is individually calculated and then the number of units of ore is truncated before transport to your cargo. My calculations will factor maxed drone skills, feel free to change the formula to reflect your skill tree.

As we mentioned earlier, Mining Drone Operations 5 will increase your drone's yield by 25% and Drone Interfacing 5 by 100% . I also made it clear Harvester Mining Drones suck, so we will use T2 Mining Drones for our example:

25 * 1.25 * 2 = 62.5 m3/cycle Using Omber again, it means 62.5/0.6 = 104.17 or 104 units of Omber/cycle (per drone)

Since you can control 5 drones at a time, which means your drones will bring in an extra 520 units of Omber per cycle, or 31,200 per hour. This however does not factor the traveling time we talked about earlier.

An issue with drones is that they suffer a lot from higher volume ore like Bistot (volume of 16m3) since the number of ore units is truncated at the end of every cycle. A good example of this is seeing that training Drone Interfacing to level 5 won't bring any benefit when mining most high-ends. How so?

With a perfect mining drone yield of 62.5 m3/cycle, we get: 62.5/16 = 3.90 or 3 units of Bistot/cycle (per drone).

New since Revelations, the Drone Mining Augmentator rigs (see section 12) can help a little. Whether choosing this rig over another is worth it will depend of the situation you think you will find yourself in.

Minimizing the traveling time factor effect

Parking your ship as close to the roid as you can will minimize the traveling time. If you can be under 1KM of the roid you send your drone on, the traveling factor will almost be neglectable. Our 31,200 units of Omber per hour still won't be true, but it should be close. It has been argued and debated that doing so renews the role of Harvester or Elite mining drones, that is, that neglecting their speed makes them superior to T2 mining drones.

Although this is true in theory, it is not in the real world. In my experience, which I like to think is quite extensive, there will never always be a roid within that range for your drones to mine. That is, not a roid worth mining at least. Furthermore, their insane prices means losing them puts an enormous blow on your wallet and you will lose mining drones. There is no competence argument to be had in this matter. Losing drones, especially in 0.0, is almost a certainty. A simple CTD will result in your drones dying when facings rats. If jumped by pirates, you will always prioritize your ship over your drones, and the chances you can recall them back before you get popped are next to zero.

For those who cannot grasp the huge cost difference, harvesters cost 100 times more than T2 mining drones. It is true that, throughout this guide, I have proposed you buy expensive ships, modules and implants and although it is probably impossible to statistically prove the chances of losing drones versus the chances of losing the said ships, modules and implants are higher, simple logic tells us so. Mining drones are paper thin, one smartbomb will send them to hell...and I promise you, they are the favorite targets of pirates when they jump mining operations, and they won't miss them!

For all the aforementioned reasons, I will stand by my original comment, that is, that harvester mining drones are an absolutely waste of your well earned ISK. In 99% of situations, their superior yield will be neglected by their speed. If you are a miner that falls in the remaining 1% of situations and think harvesters still bring you more dough for your efforts, hop in Jita and get a quintuple to serve your needs.

That's it for the drones section. As you can see, they are far from useless. In fact, mining Crokite, it'll bring an extra 7mil ISK per hour (approximately, as always) so they are not to be ignored. However, maxing your drone's yield shouldn't be prioritized over barge or crystal training, for example. It's a nice long-term (if not last) objective for veterans. As always, you can weight the pros and the cons for yourself.

Ice Mining

Ice Mining follows a different patent. Instead of training skills or fitting modules to increase your yield, they will lower your cycle time, which means more cycles per hour, which means more ice units per hour.

The only mining lasers capable of harvesting ice are the T1 Ice Harvester strips, and their T2 counterparts, which means ice can only be mined by mining barges or exhumers.

As I said cycle time is what counts when mining ice, and the difference between Ice Harvester I and Ice Harvester II is noticeable:

Laser Base Yield Base Cycle Time
Ice Harvester I 1,000 m3 600.00 sec
Ice Harvester II 1,000 m3 500.00 sec
ORE Ice Harvester 1,000 m3 500.00 sec


Every time your Ice Harvester completes a cycle, you will get 1 unit of ice. The exception to this rule lies with the Mackinaw, which has a built-in bonus of 100% ice mining yield...which means for every cycle, you will get 2 units of ice instead of 1.

Mackinaw Exhumer

There is only one skill that affects ice mining, which is Ice Harvesting, which reduces your cycle time by 5% per level. Although Mining 4 is required to use Ice Harvesters II, it does not change anything in the cycle time or yield of your harvesters. The equivalent of the MLU, called the Ice Harvester Upgrade (IHU) reduces the cycle time by 5% for each of your Ice Harvesters.

The logical choice for mining ice is to get a Mackinaw, as no other ship will outmine it. Plus, they are very affordable.

Figuring your Cycle Time

Before we go any further, you must know that unlike "regular" ore mining, unless your full cycle is completed, you will NOT get any ice unit. Again an exception lies with the Mackinaw, which will still give you 1 ice unit if you completed more than 50% of your cycle time.

You will notice the Mackinaw has a 25% penalty to cycle time, but gives a 5% reduction in cycle time per level. So if you have Exhumer trained at level 5, and using Ice Harvesters II, you will get the following cycle time: 500 sec * 1.25 * 0.75 * 0.75 * 0.95^2 = 317.28 sec

Concretely, it means every 317.28 seconds, you will receive 2 units of ice per ice harvester. Since you can fit two ice harvesters per Mackinaw, it means you will harvest 4 units of ice every 317.28 seconds.

To know how much this translates per hour, you need to figure out how many cycles you will complete per hour. An hour has 3600 seconds, so 3600/317.28 = 11.34 cycles per hour. Roughly, if you bring it down to 11 cycles per hour, it means you will get 44 units of ice per hour.

The Hulk or Covetor for Ice Mining ?

Although the Covetor has no bonus to its ice yield, the Hulk was secretly given one along the line. It has a 3% in cycle time reduction per level. Which means, with ice harvesters II: 500 sec * 0.75 * 0.85 * 0.95^2 = 287.67sec

You'll manage to complete just a little over 12 cycles per hour. Since every cycle you get 1 unit of ice per ice harvester, and a Hulk 36 units of ice in just a little over one hour.

Ice Types

The following table shows what every type of ice refines in:

Ice Batch Type Isotopes Liquid Ozone Heavy Water Strontium
White Glaze 1 Nitrogen 300 25 50 1
Pristine White Glaze 1 Nitrogen 350 40 75 1
Glacial Mass 1 Hydrogen 300 25 50 1
Smooth Glacial Mass 1 Hydrogen 350 40 75 1
Blue Ice 1 Oxygen 300 25 50 1
Thick Blue Ice 1 Oxygen 350 40 75 1
Clear Icicle 1 Helium 300 25 50 1
Enriched Clear Icicle 1 Helium 350 40 75 1
Glare Crust 1 - 0 500 1,000 25
Dark Glitter 1 - 0 1,000 500 50
Gelidus 1 - 0 500 250 75
Krystallos 1 - 0 250 100 100

The refining math of section 2 applies to ice as well, so nothing to add here !

Mercoxit Mining

Pre-RMR, Mercoxit was considered to be the most valuable ore as it is the only asteroid which refines into Morphite. Not only for that, but also because you absolutely need mining crystals to harvest it, only true miners with good skills can mine it. Factor on top of that Mercoxit's important volume, which makes the task of getting any high quantities a bitch, all those factors gave it a premium price. The Skiff solved that last problem, so well in fact, that the Morphite prices have sunken to the bottom of the ocean with the Titanic over the last couple of months. Mind you, it is still a lucrative business, but not as much as before, and players who left before RMR and are coming back now will wonder 'what happened to my ISK monster'?

Nonetheless, we move forward with the new skill you'll need (yes, as in only one).

Training Deep Core Mining beyond level 2 is wasted time, since the toxic and dangerous cloud that MIGHT erupt when mining Mercoxit (happened to me once in my life) has a range of 5KM only, and since your lasers have a range of 15km, you mind telling me what the hell you're doing so close ? Thought so...

There really is no point mining Mercoxit in anything else than a Skiff, but this guide wouldn't be truly complete if you did not have all the information. There are four modules that allows you to mine Mercoxit:


Laser Base Yield Base Cycle Time
Deep Core Mining Laser I 40 m3 60.00 sec
Modulated Deep Core Miner II 120 m3 180.00 sec
ORE Deep Core Mining Laser 40 m3 60.00 sec
Modulated Deep Core Strip Miner II 250 m3 180.00 sec

While MDCM2 can be used with any mining crystals, and be fitted on any ship, they are not as powerful as MDCSM2, which is a special kind of strip miner used for Mercoxit mining. The regular Modulated Strip Miner II cannot use Mercoxit crystals. While the MDCSM2 can use any crystals, since its base yield is 110 lower than the MSM2 (250 vs 360), there would be no point.

What is particulary nice about the Skiff, is that it gets a 60% bonus to Mercoxit mining yield - per level. What this translates into in a ISK/hour ratio will be covered at the end of this section (and again in section 12), however you may have already guessed that with a 300% bonus at Exhumer 5, it'll be a nice one... especially for such a cheap ship.

For the sake of Überness comparison, I'll assume you are a maxed out Hulk pilot already: 250 * 1.25 * 1.25 * 1.15 * 1.15 * 4 * 1.05 * 1.375 * 1.05^2 = 3289.17 m3/cycle. Mercoxit has a volume of 40m3, so 3289.17/40 = 82.229 or 82 units of Mercoxit per cycle.

A Skiff fits one MDCSM2, so you'd mine around 1640 units of Mercoxit per hour. (20 cycles, like the other strip miners)

Is Mercoxit mining still hot?

Yes it is, but it only becomes lucrative at Exhumer 5. Many pilots stop at Exhumer 4 since for Hulk pilots, the mere 3% bonus you get for the 20 days (and more) of training it takes might not be worth it for them. However, the 60% bonus you're missing if you don't train it plays a BIG role for the Skiff (we might even say the same for the Mackinaw).

Roughly, one unit of Mercoxit will refine into two units of Morphite, and at the time of release of this guide, one unit of Morphite goes for around 15,000 ISK/unit give or take. So we do the math and end up at a ISK/hour ratio of 49,200,00.00 ISK/hour. It's definitely not bad, especially for such a cheap ship (20mil ISK in Jita at the time of release of this guide).

Section 12 has a good comparative chart of the ISK/hour ratios you can get depending on what you mine and what you're flying. You'll see that Mercoxit, although it isn't the flavor of the month anymore, doesn't do so bad at all!

This ends our section on Mercoxit. As you noticed I did not talk about mining Mercoxit in a battleship, simply because you cannot do so without mining crystals, and anyone serious enough about mining that trained for crystals will also have done so for mining barges.

Mining Foreman Links - Gang Mods

Gang mods were introduced in RMR and did not work properly. The laser optimization link (which is probably the most popular of all three) was silently fixed in a patch to reduce the cycle time instead of giving an actual bonus to the yield. This turns out in our favor, as a bonus to cycle time actually translates in a bigger bonus to our yield.

Enough mathematical babble for the moment, this table summarizes the three available mining foreman links :


Name Description
Mining Foreman Link - Harvester Capacitor Efficiency Decreases the capacitor need of mining lasers, gas harvesters and ice harvesters by 2%.
Mining Foreman Link - Laser Optimization Decreases mining lasers/ gas harvester and ice harvester duration by 2%.
Mining Foreman Link - Mining Laser Field Enhancement Increases the range of the gang's mining lasers, gas harvesters and ice harvesters by 4.5%.

As you see, the links alone do not offer any worthy bonuses, but thanks to some skills, they are in fact very powerful mods in the hand of a skilled pilot.

With the new squadron/wing/fleet system in Revelations, simply being ganged won't work anymore. You will need to create at least a squadron, and the pilot using the link must be the squadron commander. This is a big change, but the skill you will want to max out to max the effect of the links are also the ones you need to be squadron commander... so far so good! The skills you will need to use a link:

These are the minimum skill requirements, but they do not all influence the effectiveness of the links. In fact, in this list, only Mining Director does. Remember the Mining Foreman Mindlink I talked about in section 6? It pays off now! Here's a table with the list of skills you want to max to level 5 to increase the effect of each link to its maximum:

Note that Warfare Link Specialist replaced the skill Squadron Command but everything works as before according to my tests.

So at Mining Director 5, Warfare Link Specialist 5 and the Mining Foreman Mindlink plugged in, the effect of each link will be:

2% * 5 * 1.5 * 1.5 = 22.5%

There were many misunderstandings as to how the Mining Director skill worked. Simply put, the base effect of the link is multiplied by the level you trained Mining Director at, which explains the "5" multiplier in the equation, instead of putting a "6" to factor a 500% bonus as most people would do.

Now that we know what you can train to max the effect and what each link does, let's look at each in detail and see how they truly affect miners.

Mining Foreman Link - Ice Harvesting

Ok so we know your cycle time will be reduced by 22.5%, but how many extra cycles does that give ? Again, the math to the rescue:

500 sec * 1.25 * 0.75 * 0.75 * 0.95^2 * 0.775 = 245.90 sec

Roughly this means almost 15 cycles per hour, which is 4 extra cycles.

As you see the Mackinaw will roughly mine 16 extra ice units per hour. Hence we can all agree it's an important difference, which becomes even more important when a whole group of Mackinaw attack an ice belt !

And now on to the good stuff...

Mining Foreman Link - Laser Optimization

As I mentioned at the beginning of the section, the laser optimization link will reduce your cycle time (it doesn't affect ice harvesters by the way) instead of giving a direct bonus to your yield. Which means that a 22.5% reduction in cycle time translates into a yield increase overtime by 1/(1-0.225)= 1.29 (29%)! Yes, it means a maxed command ship pilot will increase your yield by 29% ! Yes, you can drool.

We could have treated this link as we did with the Ice Harvesting Link, meaning, calculate how many new cycles we get per hour and then compare the difference. However since we always treated ore mining with yield bonuses, introducing a cycle time bonus could confuse many people, so as I've demonstrated, the 22.5% bonus to cycle time actually is a 29% bonus to your yield. This is how the bonus is factored in the next equation ...

Let's see how our pimped Hulk pilot from section 7 does now:

360*1.25*1.25*1.15*1.15*1.15*1.05*1.05*1.05^2*1.75*1.29 = 2347.48 m3/cycle

Using Omber, it means 2347.48 /0.6 = 3912.47 or 3912 units of Omber/cycle (per strip)

Since you're fitted with 3 strip miners, you will be getting 11,736 units of Omber per cycle, or 234,720 units of Omber per hour. We already know this is a 29% increase over our pimped Hulk, so no surprises there. How about our retriever from the very beginning? Well it's a 254.99% increase! Yes, you read right...amazing how efficient we can become when we know how everything works !

But what really interests us is how this affect us in an ISK/hour ratio ? Instead of spoiling it right away, section 13 will cover this in more details.

Making them work

Revelation brought a new gang system... which requires some understanding.

To be a squadron commander you need Leadership V. After which, each level of Wing Commander (prereq: Leadership 5) allows for an extra squadron under your command. Finally, each level of Fleet Command (prereq: WC 5) allows for an extra wing under your command.

To boost the people in your squadron, wing or fleet you must be either a commander or be set as the booster. If you're the fleet commander you will boost the whole fleet. If you are a Wing Commander, you will boost everyone in your wing, etc. The fleet commander can set you as the squadron, wing or fleet booster you're in regardless of your leadership skills (as shown in the tree up there).

Rigs

Revelations didn't bring us miners so many treats... in fact, the only true new thing we got is the Drone Mining Augmentator, which acts as an implant for your ship (if removed will be destroyed) by increasing your mining drone's yield at the expense of your ship's CPU capacity.

Before you do anything, you should make sure the CPU drawback (-10%, which can be further reduced by 10% for every Drones Rigging you train) won't render your ship useless. For instance, a tanking Hulk won't have the CPU to use that rig. You can always remove it if you found out you made a mistake, however you will lose it (just like normal implants). Since rigs are very new, it's impossible to determine the price those rigs will sell for. Depending on what they'll cost, removing them or not will have to be a decision you make alone. At Drones Rigging 5 the CPU drawback will only be 5% instead of 10%. It's not a big penalty, but it is something you have to look out for.

Funnily enough, they are useful. Even the Drone Mining Augmentator I will benefit high-ends (Bistot, Arkonor, Crokite) miners by adding an extra unit to each drone's yield (5 units instead of 4).

The next section will explain in more details what kind of ISK benefit those rigs bring. It's nothing to drool about, but the soon-to-be maxed miner or the already maxed miner will want those anyway, just for the sake of saying "I'm a mining god!".

Show me the money

This section will compare the different ships and the ISK/hour ratio they can achieve depending of what they are mining, as well as the values of the different ore types. First we must determine an average price for each mineral before we know the value of 1 unit of each ore.

Ore Values

Note that these average prices are just that: averages. The main goal of this section is to compare the general value of ores together. Mineral prices fluctuate on a daily basis, so feel free to come up with your own Excel sheet and change it as often as you need to to reflect the current market situation !

Product Value
Tritanium 2.21 ISK/unit
Pyerite 4.18 ISK/unit
Mexallon 28.50 ISK/unit
Isogen 64.30 ISK/unit
Nocxium 524.48 ISK/unit
Zydrine 1,058.99 ISK/unit
Megacyte 3,247.95 ISK/unit
Morphite 4297.96 ISK/unit


So section 1.2 explained which minerals are refined from each type of ore. Using that and the above selling values of each mineral, we can determine a pretty good approximate value for 1 unit of each type of ore.

Note: Prices reflect current Jita mineral values. (data copied from Ore Table)

Ore Value
Veldspar 66 ISK/m3
Omber 70 ISK/m3
Scordite 72 ISK/m3
Plagioclase 86 ISK/m3
Kernite 99 ISK/m3
Gneiss 104 ISK/m3
Pyroxeres 113 ISK/m3
Spodumain 116 ISK/m3
Jaspet 161 ISK/m3
Dark Ochre 165 ISK/m3
Hedbergite 180 ISK/m3
Hemorphite 180 ISK/m3
Crokite 219 ISK/m3
Mercoxit 228 ISK/m3
Bistot 286 ISK/m3
Arkonor 393 ISK/m3

Ok so now we have an approximate value for each type of ore (comparing them in ISK/m3 rather than per ore unit makes the sorting easier since they have different volumes). First thing that strikes is that high-ends truly are worth more than low-ends.

How can we generally interpret that table ?

Prices are average values from Jita Market on 25th December 2010. To get up-to-date prices on minerals and ore, check this Ore Table.

On a bigger scale of things, we can however conclude that Bistot and Arkonor will always be the best ores available in 0.0. The price fluctuation of minerals in Empire might have them switch places among the top 3, but certainly not from second best to worse.

Ice Values

I've been asked this question way too often to ignore it. So we will do just like section 12.1 but this time for ice!

Product Value
Helium Isotopes 233.44 ISK/m3
Hydrogen Isotopes 273.70 ISK/m3
Nitrogen Isotopes 243.00 ISK/m3
Oxygen Isotopes 269.00 ISK/m3
Liquid Ozone 300.00 ISK/m3
Heavy Water 30.02 ISK/m3
Strontium 1,046.98 ISK/m3


Again, I repeat before I get yelled at on the forum... these are average values. Since we know the value for each type of fuel, we can determine a price per unit of ice.

Ice Value
White Glaze 86.61 ISK/m3
Pristine White Glaze 104.03 ISK/m3
Glacial Mass 78.88 ISK/m3
Smooth Glacial Mass 95.01 ISK/m3
Blue Ice 102.01 ISK/m3
Thick Blue Ice 122.00 ISK/m3
Clear Icicle 81.59 ISK/m3
Enriched Clear Icicle 98.17 ISK/m3
Glare Crust 161.40 ISK/m3
Dark Glitter 270.78 ISK/m3
Gelidus 159.35 ISK/m3
Krystallos 108.77 ISK/m3

And the winner is...

This is probably the section most people will jump at before reading anything else. In this guide, we had a look at many different ships, so to make a general comparative chart, we will use the following ships on the evolution chain from noob mining recruit to mining god (me ! ^_^)...

  • Our Retriever from section 4
  • Our Rokh from section 4
  • Our Covetor from section 5 (with crystals)
  • Our "Perfect Miner" Hulk from section 7 (refer to section 6)
  • Our God Mode Hulk ("Perfect Miner" + pilot boosting him, refer to section 11.3)

Including ALL ore types in this table would be useless, as you can determine this by yourself. The point is to determine with a quick glance the differences between empire, low-sec and 0.0 mining, hence weighting the risks vs. the rewards. Drones aren't factored in this table.

The Miner's Überness

I admit, that's a lot of tables and information on two pages... the golden situation here, according to our tables would be a Hulk in God Mode boosted by a command ship pilot fitted with both the Laser Optimization and Drone Coordination Link (yes, a command ship can fit two links, as well as capital ships).

The approximate best ISK/hour ratio you can currently get at the moment, according to the theory, is around 63,000,000.00 ISK/hour mining Arkonor (of course with drones). For a refresher, one year ago, this was 112mil/hour. As you can see, mining is no longer the huge ISK generator it used to be. This is due to many factors, notably the new drone regions, the bigger number of Hulk users now, and how easier it is to mine remotely now.

This of course is theory, doesn't take in account hauling time from belt to station, the drone's traveling time, mining lasers stopping prematurely because the asteroid is popped, etc. Nonetheless, suffice to say, mining can be a very lucrative profession when you put the ISK, time and effort in training your character(s) properly.

I can already see players rushing to 0.0 space to try and get access to the good stuff. Unfortunately for you, 0.0 mining has its drawbacks: getting a 100% refining yield is difficult as there aren't that many NPC stations in 0.0. Furthermore, it is dangerous (much more so than Empire), although many consider 0.0 to be less dangerous than low-sec. Even when your ore is refined, you still need to bring it back to Empire to sell it, which poses a logistic problem.

This ends our 13th section. Feel free to come up with your own excel sheets and tables to figure out your own ratios with your current skill tree. You have all the information you will need to do so !

The Rorqual - Big Mama ORE

Rorqual Capital Industrial Ship

The newest addition to the family by the Outer Ring Excavation, the Rorqual, is a capital class ship meant to support deep space mining ops. Suffice to say, it's an exciting addition for miners. With its whopping skill requirements and costly Capital Industrial skill cost (500mil ISK, ouchie!), is it worth it? Read on.

The role of the Rorqual was rumored for many months. As I said earlier, it's a support ship, and it excels at that. It will practically be useless solo, but drop in a few Hulks, maybe a carrier or two, you got yourself a party!

Its bonuses are listed as so:

  • -5% reduction in fuel consumption for industrial cores per level
  • 5% bonus to bonus to effectiveness of mining foreman gang links per level when in deployed mode
  • 50% bonus to the range of Capital Shield Transporters per level.
  • 20% bonus to drone damage and hitpoints per level.
  • 99% reduction in CPU need for Clone Vat Bay
  • 99% reduction in CPU need for Gang Link modules
  • 99% reduction in CPU need for Industrial Reconfiguration modules
  • 99% reduction in CPU need for Tractor Beams

Now let's see what kind of nice tools we got for big mama ORE.

The Industrial Core

It is possible to "siege" the Rorqual, using the Industrial Core I module, even inside a POS bubble. Fueled by Heavy Water, theIndustrial Core's main advantage is allowing the Rorqual to compress ore directly on site using special BPO seeded on the market at the price of 100k each. The compression rate is of 40 for empire low-end, 20 for other ore and 10 for ice - not negligible. Just like for a refining batch, you need an exact number of units to make a compression batch, shown in the next table. The compression requires 1 minute per job without skill, or 48 seconds with Industry V, which you should already have by now.

Assuming you have Capital Industrial Ships IV, you'll need 750 units of Heavy Water (currently priced at around 20 ISK/unit) per activation. The Industrial core activation lasts 300 seconds, so every cycle costs 15,000.00 ISK per activation. In one Industrial Core activation, you have just about enough time to run 6 compression jobs if you're efficient. Each compression job will cost you around 2,500.00 ISK. Not too shabby, huh?

It will cost you approximately 180,000.00 ISK per hour to keep the Rorqual sieged (preferably safe at a POS) with Capital Industrial IV, which is not a lot, especially if you're running a mining op with multiple miners.

Foreman link bonus

Along the compression lines, the Rorqual also boosts the effectiveness of the Mining Foreman links, which are the Laser Optimization and Ice Harvesting links if you had already forgotten.

Without the Rorqual, we had determined the link's effectiveness was of 22.5% with maxed skills, which translated in a 29% direct yield bonus. With Capital Industrial IV:

2% * 5 * 1.5 * 1.5 * 1.2 = 27%. This translates into 1/(1-0.27) = 1.3698

so approximately 37%.

Worded differently, the Rorqual boosts the fleet some more by 8% compared to a carrier or a command ship. However, we can all agree that this 8% increase when using the Rorqual is an extra special feature on top of the main program, which is compressing.

Capital Tractor Beam

I admit that the idea behind them are great. With a tractoring range of 200KM , the Rorqual can comfortably sit in a belt, tractor can to itself and compress on site... no more hauling!

This is however rarely the case at the present time in the practical world. Since the Rorqual needs to be sieged for 5 minutes to be really efficient, it's also dangerous. For this reason right now, Rorquals are mostly seen within the security of a POS bubble.

Clone VAT Bay

By fitting a (or many) Clone VAT Bay in one of the Rorqual's 6 high slots, you can act as a cloning station and receive clones directly within the ship. Although this seems superfluous, it can be a huge strategic advantage if you set up a remote mining camp. Section 14.5 will cover this in greater details.

Dedicated ore bay

From Apocrypha 1.5, the rorqual has now a dedicated ore bay of 250000 m3


Fitting the Rorqual

The Rorqual has 6 High slots, 7 Med slots, 3 Low slots, and 3 rig slots (suggest using CCC rigs).

It should be apparent that it was meant to be shield tanked, as is the Hulk. Whether the Rorqual is left at the POS or not, it should always have a tank. Therefore, one Capital Shield Booster, as well as the best EM and Thermal Shield Hardeners you can afford should be part of the 7 med slots. The tests I ran showed that with 3x CCC rigs and 4x Cap Recharger II along the shield boosting modules, the tank is self sustainable.

As far as lows are concerned, CPR are out of the question since they reduce shield boosting. Therefore, one damage control II to further boost those resists with two faction PDU ought to make a good tank.

Finally, in the high slots, you absolutely need one slot for the Industrial Core and finally one for a foreman link, leaving four free slots to use for either VAT bays, capital tractors or remote hull/shield/armor repairers. Which you fit will depend of your skills and needs.

You must also realize the propositions I gave are standard and very conservative in nature. In my experience though, you will appreciate the quickest cap regen you can get, especially in tight situations when you need to repair or jump away. Since you need 70% capacitor to jump, if you need to travel through many systems, you'll also appreciate the shorter wait.

For a capital ship, I'd fit the best I can afford, Gist-X hardeners and shield boost amplifier even.

The Orca - Gang Mining Machine

Orca Industrial Command Ship

Introduced in the Quantum Rise expansion, the Orca fills the role of ultimate mining gang booster. It is classified as an Industiral Command Ship due to it's bonuses to mining foreman gang links. The Orca allows gang leaders superior boosting capability, along with a large hauling cargo hold and corporation bay. On top of all this, the Orca has a ship hanger, large enough to carry multiple ships below battleship class.

The Orca can also activate jump gates, making it a high sec champion. It would appear as if the Orca was created to be a high sec version of the Rorqual, without compression capabilities.

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