Special modules are required for ice mining. Each cycle produces a single ice cube some 1,000m3 in size. As it is not possible to increase this yield, upgrading for more efficiency is achieved by reducing cycle times.
Advantages of Ice Mining
- Reduced attention required by the miner.
- Self-sufficiency in terms of POS fuels.
- Lower penalty for working without a hauler - longer cycle times mean fewer trips to the station.
- Ice asteroids are huge - there is little chance of having one pop while filling your hold.
Disadvantages of Ice Mining
- Reduced ISK yield compared to normal mining.
- Smaller demand for ice products.
- Increased chances of suicide ganks.
In Empire space, there are a few systems in each region that have an Ice Field. The nearest to Aldrat is Eygfe. More can be found on external map sources such as dotlan.
Ice fields are visually distinctive, often hundreds of kilometers long with asteroids often containing well over 100,000 pieces of ice.
There are 4 basic types of ice asteroid. These match the faction that controls local space. With perfect ice refine capability, 1 unit of each type will always produce:
- 50 Heavy Water
- 25 Liquid Ozone
- 1 Strontium Clathrates
- 300 of a faction-specific isotope, as follows:
|Amarr - Clear Icicle||Caldari - White Glaze||Gallente - Blue Ice||Minmatar - Glacial Mass|
Basic Ice Mining Requirements
Ice Harvesting modules can only fit on Mining Barges or Exhumers. As with normal ore mining, the Retriever is the recommended starting point:
The following skills are the minimum skills required to pilot a Retriever.
in addition, to harvest ice, the following skill is required.
With these skills the miner can acquire 1 piece of ice, per Ice Harvester, every 600 seconds (10 minutes).
Improving Cycle Times
Further training in Ice Harvesting will decrease the cycle time by 5% per level to a maximum 25% reduction in cycle time. Minimum cycle is therefore 450 seconds (7.5 minutes).
Tech 2 Modules
With Ice Harvesting 5 it is possible to use the Ice Harvester II module. This has a base cycle time of 500 seconds reducing to 375 seconds with the skill bonus applied. Ship bonuses , depending on what barge/exhumer you are using, can also affect harvesting. (bonuses are noted further down)
Ice Harvesting Upgrades
(Using the Retriever as an example)
Cycle times can be reduced further using Ice Harvesting Upgrades. These work in the same way as Mining Laser Upgrades, but reduce the cycle time instead of increasing yield. A T1 upgrade provides a 5% bonus (10% CPU penalty) and a T2 upgrade provides a 9% bonus (12.5% penalty). To minimise cycle time the aim is to fill all low power slots with these modules for a combined cycle reduction of 27%. [Note: Training up Skills:Industry#Mining Upgrades|Mining Upgrades will reduce the penalties as well as allowing use of the T2 upgrade at a higher level.]
Personal experience: I found that when fitting my ship with the Ice Harvester Upgrade IIs I ran out of CPU with 3 active and was unable to fit the two T2 Ice Harvesters. The issue was resolved by using a cpu upgrade rig (there were leftover calibration points) and training higher levels of Electronics.
Medium Ice Harvester Accelerator I results in a 12% reduction to the duration of ice harvester cycles. Calibration cost: 250
Due to the changes:
Skiff 66% reduction in cycle time + 1% for every level of Exhumer Mackinaw 33% reduction in cycle time + 1% for every level of Exhumer Hulk 0% reduction in cycle time but + 4% for every level of Exhumer [NOTE: mining barges have the same ship bonuses minus the Exhumer bonus]
The Mackinaw its the elite in cargo hold followed by the skiff leaving the Hulk trailing behind at last place.
While most ice mining is done in hisec, suicide gankers often see the AFK nature of ice miners as an advantage.
The Skiff takes the far lead due to its bonuses in shield tank ability.
Most dedicated miners will own a Hulk for high-yield mining, so frequently the Mackinaw is bought as a second ship dedicated to solo mining due to the large Ore hold. The market for both change depending on the demand or availablity, due to this reason the price cant be set as a guide to what ship is the cheapest and most cost effective. looking at you local market and comparing the price with your needs will have to be taken into account to see what is the best for you.
The big question – Is Ice mining actually for me?
Yet again another question without a correct answer.
There are many reasons for and against Ice Mining, but there are some important facts that need to be said. Ice has a limited use compared to asteroids. Minerals from asteroids are used throughout eve, basically everything out there is made out of minerals where as ice products are only used in Player Owned Structures (POS) and certain ships with jump drive capability.
It is perhaps considered easier to ice mine, as the cycle times are significantly longer then asteroid mining modules, and ice asteroids are so massive, that it would take a large fleet of ships to mine all of the ice, as such it is very difficult for the ice asteroid to run out. Many miners will tell you the frustration at mining an asteroid with hardly next to nothing in it and loosing cycle time because they haven’t got the attention to focus on there scanners. This is perhaps where Ice Mining does come into its own, and many miners have been known to hit the "Ice Belt" while they are, for example, studying.
The final big issue is well, that ice is big! Just one block takes up 1000m3 of space. So an unmodified Hulk can only fit a low amount, not much really. Many professional ice miners will have a second account to act as a hauler to move the ice and leave the miner in place, be in a fleet or use the ore hold god called the Mackinaw.
Perfect Ice Mining Requirements
Ice Harvester II module:
Ice Mining Upgrades
This skill set will result in a reduction of cycle time on your lasers. Modules, such as the Ice Harvester Upgrade can further decrease the cycle time. Implants, such as the 'Yeti' series can even further decrease this time. If possible, use a fleet booster such as an Orca, with boosts to decrease cycle time. Remember the yield boosters are useless, so the only boosts you can do in relation to Ice mining are time decreases.
MAX Pilot & MAX Fleet
(This results in a cycle time of 101 seconds for 2 blocks.)
Best Pilot (This results in a cycle time of 150 seconds for 2 blocks.)
- Ship: Mackinaw
- Above Skills
- Implant: Slot 10 - Yeti 5 (The Yeti 5 only improves cycle time by 5 seconds from the MAX of 101 to 106; so likely not worth the price.)
- High Slot: 2 Ice Harvester II (The ORE does not help reduce cycle time, only CPU; so likely not worth the price.)
- Low Slot: 3 Ice Harvester Upgrade II (The Ingenii does not help reduce cycle time, only CPU; so likely not worth the price.)
- Rig Slot: 1 Medium Ice Harvester Accelerator I (There is no II at the moment.)
Best Booster (This results in a 32.3% reduction in Activation Time.)