Mining is the profession of extracting ore from asteroids, ice from ice fields and gas from gas clouds. These materials can then be refined into minerals, ice products and boosters. These refined substances are used in the production and maintenance of all player created items and structures in EVE, such as ships and modules. It is one of the few professions immediately available to beginning players and most EVE industrialists started their careers by mining. Mining is perhaps the second most economically safe profession in EVE, save planetary interaction, in high-sec systems. Losing mining ships and/or being podded is uncommon and minerals are always in demand. Mining is accomplished by finding an asteroid belt, ice belt or gas cloud, and mining its asteroids /ice asteroids/gas clouds with special ship modules (mining lasers, ice harvesters, and gas cloud harvesters, respectively).
To quickly get into mining, all Eve University members are encouraged to take advantage, at no cost, of the mining loaner fleet program. The University will even provide the skillbook for you! All miners are encouraged to join the E-Uni Mining Ops mailing list and you will receive an email if a fleet commander organises a mining fleet. Many miners in EVE University have come together and organized the Amarr Mining Campus (AMC) where newer players are taught the basics of solo and fleet mining. It is highly encouraged that newer players interested in mining contact an AMC officer.
Advantages of mining over other professions
- Low entry cost: The dedicated mining frigate Venture is provided free as a mission reward from Career Agent - Industry mission 2. The dedicated skill (Mining Frigate) for commanding the Venture requires only 15 minutes of training time.
- Relatively low risk: It is usually very safe to mine in high-sec (the principal dangers being suicide gankers or war targets).
- Low level of involvement needed: In most scenarios, miners only need to be active 5 seconds for every 3 minutes (to target new asteroids) and an extra 1 minute for every 30 minutes (to unload the full cargo of mined ore in station).
- Guaranteed income: Mining products are always in high demand because ships and structures which were blown up have to be replaced, and replacing ships and structures need materials.
Disadvantages of mining over other professions
- Skill intensive: Despite the low entry cost, it takes a lot of training time to become an efficient miner.
- Nontransferable skills: Mining skills are useful only for mining.
- Questionable fun factor: The amount of fun that is involved in mining is usually very low for most people. People in EVE tend to find more fun in blowing up ships or being blown up.
- Income ceiling: It is highly improbable to earn much more than 10m ISK per hour as a high sec miner while other professions can be much more lucrative.
- Main article: Asteroids and Ore
The easiest way to find asteroids is to fly to an asteroid belt; nearly every system in Eve has at least one. Asteroid belts show up on the overview, or right-click in space and look through the "Asteroid belt" section. Each asteroid belt is composed of a variety of asteroids, each containing a particular kind of ore. The kinds and quantities of ore are determined by the security rating of the system and what faction controls it (rarer and more valuable ores are found only in lower-security systems, and the ore deposits tend to be larger there as well). Keep in mind that asteroids only spawn after downtime, so there will be belts that are devoid of a certain asteroid (or any asteroids in some cases) because other miners have already mined it out.
Asteroids can also be found in the deadspace pockets created for certain missions, and in cosmic anomalies. While these sites are a bit more difficult to find, they also tend to have much less competition and have richer pickings. Hint: Set your overview to "default mining" (click the triangle next to overview -> load -> mining) to see asteroids other than Veldspar. (Note that not all ores and other harvestable items will not be shown by using the default mining set.)
If you would like to dive more deeply into mining, it's worth determining the most profitable way to mine. This involves deciding what asteroids to mine, where to find these asteroids, which ships (and skills) are best suited and optimized to mine, and (in most cases) how best to haul the ore to a refining station and then to the market. All miners should attempt to maximize their efficiency (and therefore their profitability), which is typically measured by the amount of ISK earned per hour.
For example, Veldspar is the most common and cheapest ore in EVE and has a volume of 0.1 m3; Scordite is the next most common ore but has a volume of 0.15 m3. Therefore, for every cycle, 50% more Veldspar is mined than Scordite (since mining lasers mine a fixed volume of ore per minute). In order for Scordite mining to be more profitable than Veldspar mining, Scordite's market price must be in turn 50% greater than Veldspar's. Since the market is player-driven, ore and mineral prices are ever-changing, hence miners should always check the market for the most efficient ore/mineral to mine for.
Websites like Grismar's Ore Chart or .GUN. can look up the current market prices for ores and minerals, and give you a recommendation which ores are the most profitable. Remember to double-check the prices that any automated tools give you - they will often use regional averages to determine mineral prices; if you plan to sell your goods at a specific station or hub then your priorities might come out differently.
- Main article: More Mining Maths
The majority of miners do not need to use complicated maths. There are usually only 3 or 4 ore types in the asteroid belts in your area and if simply mining for cash it is easy to get a rough idea as to which ore is best by simply mining one ore type until you fill your hold and check the value of the rocks before you empty your hold. Repeat with a different ore type and you will quickly work out which ore type is best to mine in your area.
Ice and Gas mining
So far this article has only talked about mining asteroids, but there are in fact two more things in Eve that can be mined: ice and gas. While they share some similarities with asteroid mining, their mechanics are in many ways quite different, and are therefore covered in separate articles: Ice Mining and Gas Cloud Mining.
- Main article: Mining Ships
There are three types of ships used in mining: a mining ship, a hauler and a mining support ship.
The best option for a new miner is to train into the Venture, a dedicated mining frigate (before the Retribution expansion, each race had its own mining frigate, but this is no longer the case). The Venture and the necessary skillbook (Mining Frigate) are given out for free by the Industrial Career agents, and training the necessary skills takes only a few minutes. The Venture is a mini mining barge with a substantial ore hold (which minimises travel to stations to unload ore), very good mining yield and built-in warp core stabilisation (which makes it easier to escape from hostile ships).
After a week's training, a budding miner should have the necessary skills to fly a mining barge, which have more than double the mining yield of a Venture, as well as even larger ore holds and/or a stronger tank. These ships are also more expensive (15-40M ISK, plus modules), but given that a Venture can mine about 500-700k ISK worth of ore per full cargohold, this money is soon earned. There are three different mining barges, each with a different focus (see table below).
The last word in mining ships are the exhumers (Tech II variants of the mining barges). These ships require many more skills to fly, and are even more expensive, but have even greater mining yield, cargohold space and/or tank than the mining barges.
Before the Retribution expansions, players often used cruisers or battleships as mining ships, but these ships are no longer competitive with mining barges and exhumers.
Haulers and support ships
A hauler's purpose is to take the ore that has been mined from a mining ship and transport it back to a refining station or to the market. Hauling is normally done in an industrial or a freighter.
Finally, a mining support ship can either come in the form of a security detail against rats and players looking to steal ore, or as a ship designed to provide mining efficiency bonuses. The ultimate mining support ships are the Orca and Rorqual, of which only the Orca can enter high-security space and fit through normal stargates.
|Frigate||Venture||Low yield, tank and ore hold compared to specialized ship. Greater agility and speed. Only ship in the game with a gas harvesting bonus. Is cheap and takes minimal training.|
|Mining Barge||Procurer||Specializes in defense (shield tank).|
|Retriever||Specializes in ore hold capacity.|
|Covetor||Specializes in ore yield.|
|Exhumer||Skiff||Specializes in defence (shield tank).|
|Mackinaw||Specializes in ore hold capacity.|
|Hulk||Specializes in ore yield.|
|Support||Command Ships||Can fit gang assist modules and provide security.|
|Industrial Command||Orca||Bonuses towards gang link modules, has considerable cargo room, can fly in high-sec.|
|Capital Industrial||Rorqual||Capital ship, bonuses towards gang link modules, can compress ore in cargohold (vastly increasing capacity).|
|Ship||Ore Hold||Mining Cycles||Cargohold||Hit Points||EHP||Veldspar/hr (Orca bonus)|
ORE Basic Ship and Skill Guide has more details on these ships, as well as recommended fittings.
- Mining (1x): +5% mining yield per level.
- Astrogeology (3x): +5% mining yield per level; requires Mining IV.
These skills are the bread and butter of any miner and should be trained up to level IV reasonably quickly (primarily for the increased mining yield, but Mining IV in particular is a prerequisite to many other mining-related skills).
Specialty mining skills
- Ice Harvesting (1x): Required for Ice Mining. 5% reduction in cycle time per level.
- Gas Cloud Harvesting (1x): Required for Gas Cloud Mining. Allows use of one gas cloud harvester per level. Note that the skillbook is very expensive (about 20-30M ISK)!
These skills are only relevant if you want to expand from asteroid mining to gas cloud and ice mining.
Spaceship command skills
- Mining Frigate (2x): Needed for the Venture
- Mining Barge (4x): Needed for the Procurer, Retriever, and Covetor
- Exhumers (5x): Needed for the Skiff, Mackinaw, and Hulk
- Industrial Command Ships (8x): Needed for the Orca
- Capital Industrial Ships (12x): Needed for the Rorqual
In addition to letting you fly the abovementioned ships (which only needs level I), training higher ranks of these skills greatly enhances their respective ships. For instance, the Venture gains +5% mining yield per level of the Mining Frigate skill - which is on top of the bonuses provided by Mining and Astrogeology! So if you've found a ship you like, train the corresponding spaceship command skill to make it even better.
- CPU Management (1x): +5% CPU output per level.
- Electronics Upgrades (2x): Required for fitting and using co-processors. Requires CPU Management II.
- Mining Upgrades (4x): Required for fitting and using Mining Upgrades. Requires Mining III.
- Jury Rigging (2x): Required for fitting rigs.
- Drones Rigging (3x): Required for fitting mining drone augmentor rigs (requires Jury Rigging III).
As mining lasers and mining upgrades are CPU-hungry, training CPU Management will make it easier to fit your ship. If you are still short on CPU, Electronics Upgrades allow you to fit co-processor modules (which increase your ship's CPU further). Mining upgrade modules increase your mining yield, while drone augmentor rigs increase the yield of mining drones.
- Power Grid Management (1x): +5% powergrid output per level.
- Shield Operation (1x): 5% reduction in shield recharge time. Requires Power Grid Management I.
- Shield Upgrades (2x): Required to fit shield upgrade modules (shield extenders and resistance amplifiers). Requires Power Grid Management II
- Tactical Shield Manipulation: Required to fit shield hardeners. Requires Power Grid Management III.
- Shield Management (3x): +5% shield capacity per level. Requires Power Grid Management III.
- Shield Rigging (3x): Required for fitting shield rigs. Requires Jury Rigging III.
- Hull Upgrades (2x): Required for fitting damage controls.
All the mining ships are shield tanked, so shield tanking skills are useful to make them less vulnerable to ganking. Power Grid Management is the foundation skill, and should be trained to at least level III to make fitting easier. Then, Shield Upgrades and Shield Management should be trained, to not only increase your ship's shield strength, but also to allow you to fit shield upgrade modules. Hull Upgrades is needed for the always-useful damage control module. The other skills on this list have a lower priority, but come in handy as the higher-tier mining ships greatly benefit from a strong tank.
- Drones (1x): Increases number of drones in space by 1 per level, for a maximum of five drones in space at level V.
- Drone Interfacing (5x): Increases drone damage and mining drone yield by 20% per level. Requires Drones V.
- Mining Drone Operation (2x): Increases mining drone yield by 5% per level. Requires Drones I.
- Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing (5x): Allows use of electronic warfare drones. Requires Drones V.
- Scout Drone Operation (1x). Allows for the operation of light and medium drones. Requires Drones I.
- Amarr Drone Specialization (5x), Caldari Drone Specialization (5x), Gallente Drone Specialization (5x), or Minmatar Drone Specialization (5x): Allows the use of Tech II drones. Requires Drones V.
Mining ships use drones both for defence and increased mining yield. The Drones skill is the foundation skill, and should be eventually trained up to V (once you start flying Exhumers it's highly recommended, and valuable even before). To use drones defensively, train up Scout Drone Operation, whilst mining drones need Mining Drone Operation. Drone Interfacing is somewhat of a long train, but even getting it to level IV makes a big difference in how effective your drones are. Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing is only needed if you plan to use ECM drones, and the drone specialisation skills are needed when you start using Tech II drones. For more details on how drones work, see drones.
- Leadership (1x), Wing Command (8x), and Fleet Command (12x): Increases the number of people you can give mining bonuses to.
- Mining Foreman (2x): Increases the mining yield of your boosted fleet members by 2% per level. Requires Leadership I.
- Mining Director: Increases the effectiveness of Mining Foreman link modules (ie, Orca boosts) by 20% per level. Requires Mining Foreman V.
- Warfare Link Specialist (6x): Increases the effectiveness of Mining Foreman link modules by 10% per level. Level V grants the use of Command Processors, which allow more ships to fit more than one Warfare Link. Requires Leadership V.
These skills become necessary once you start flying Orcas or Rorquals, and want to run mining fleets (and provide mining boosts to your fleet members). For more details on how fleets and warfare links work, see fleet leadership and warfare links.
When you warp to an asteroid belt, you will land in the middle of a semicircle of asteroids about 50 km in diameter. Since the (unboosted) range of mining lasers is only 10 km (15 km for strip miners), you will then need to fly closer to your target asteroid in order to mine it - and mining ships are not particularly known for their speed. You can cut down on this travel time by using bookmarks, which allow you to warp directly next to an asteroid, and start mining immediately. If you're using mining drones, it's particularly important to be close to your target asteroid, as the drones have to otherwise spend a lot of time travelling back and forth between your ship and the asteroid.
It can be helpful to create bookmarks in the asteroid belts you mine in frequently. While there are many different approaches to creating these bookmarks, the picture on the right shows a simple example: warp to an asteroid belt in a fast ship (e.g. a shuttle or a frigate), and create three bookmarks along the perimeter of the belt. Position them in such a way that most of the belt is within 15 km (the range of a strip miner) of any of the three bookmarks. Then, switch to your mining ship, and warp directly to one of the three bookmarks. You will then have a large selection of asteroids within range of your lasers, and be able to efficiently use mining drones on the closest ones. If a part of the belt is depleted, warp to a nearby celestial (e.g. a planet) and then warp back to one of the other bookmarks in the belt.
The survey scanner (a mid-slot module) is a very useful tool for any asteroid miner, as it shows how much ore each asteroid in the vicinity contains. This is important, as asteroid mining modules (mining lasers and strip miners) will always complete an entire cycle (60s for mining lasers, 180s for strip miners), irrespective of how much ore is actually left in the asteroid.
For instance, say you are mining an asteroid which contains 200 units of Veldspar (Veldspar has a volume of 0.1 m3 per unit, so this asteroid contains 20 m3 of Veldspar). Your Mining Laser I has a yield of (say) 100 m3/min, and a cycle time of 60 seconds. Even though there are only 20 m3 of Veldspar left in the asteroid, the module will complete its entire 60 second cycle before shutting off (with a message saying "the asteroid is depleted") - but those those 60 seconds of mining only yielded 20 m3 of ore (instead 100 m3)! The problem becomes even worse when using strip miners, as they have a much higher yield and a cycle time three times as long - which can result in a lot of wasted time if you're mining asteroids that don't contain much ore.
Therefore, when mining, refresh the survey scanner window from time to time (it does not refresh automatically, you need to reactivate the survey scanner module) to check whether the asteroid(s) you are mining are close to depletion. If an asteroid is almost empty, you can "short-cycle" your mining laser (i.e. turn it off manually before it completes its full cycle, by clicking on it) to mine out the last dregs of ore before moving on to another asteroid. Note that each time you activate your mining laser it takes energy from your ship's capacitor; activate it too often and you might empty your capacitor and have to wait a moment for it to recharge.
You can target asteroids directly from the survey scanner window (much like the asteroids in the overview); this can be a useful shortcut to help you mine the particular asteroid you're interested in. Unfortunately, there is no indication in the survey scanner window of which asteroids you are currently targeting (or are mining).
There are several methods commonly used in mining, the most basic only requires one account and can be run by very low skilled players, while the most advanced will require multiple players all performing separate tasks in order to be effective.
The most basic way to mine is to fill the ore hold of a ship full of ore and then return to a station to drop it off. Its advantages are that it requires only one character, can be done at very low skill levels and is completely theft-proof. Its disadvantage is that the time you spend travelling to and from a station is wasted (i.e. not spent mining) - however, most mining ships (with the notable exception of the Covetor and the Hulk) have large enough ore holds that they do not need to return frequently to a station to unload.
As an example: An average-skilled miner flying a Venture can mine about 250 m3/min of ore, which is enough to fill the Venture's ore hold (5000 m3) in about 20 minutes. Given that the Venture aligns and warps like a frigate, round trips to a station will take only a minute or two, so very little time is lost. A highly-skilled miner flying a Hulk, on the other hand, can mine about 1600 m3/min of ore, which will fill the Hulk's ore bay (8500 m3) in about 5 minutes, requiring frequent return trips to a station (made longer by the slow align time and warp speed of the Hulk).
(Note: Prior to the Retribution expansion, cargohold mining was very unprofitable, as the cargoholds of non-industrial ships were so small that they filled up too rapidly. However, with the introduction of dedicated ore holds on all mining ships, this is no longer the case.)
Players can jettison items from their cargohold into space, which results in a cargo container (more commonly called a "jetcan" or just a "can") forming within 2,500m of the ship. This jettisoned container has a volume capacity of 27,500 m3. Miners can take advantage of this capacity by transferring the ore in their cargohold into the jetcan. Typically a player will fill a jetcan with ore, and then (once the jetcan is full) swap to a ship with a larger cargohold (most often an industrial ship) and haul the ore to a nearby station.
If you're flying a mining ship with an ore hold that's considerably smaller than a jetcan (such as a Venture (5000 m3 ore hold) or a Covetor (8000 m3 ore hold)), this method can increase your efficiency, as you can spend more time mining and less time hauling.
However, jetcans only have a lifespan of 2 hours and they are not secure, meaning anyone can open and remove items from a jetcan. This is a common form of theft and griefing in the game, where a player will "flip" a jetcan either to steal the ore or to induce a fight without CONCORD intervention. While it's possible way to combat this by using secure containers (which can be programmed with a password), the largest these (the giant secure container, often called a GSC) can only hold 3,900 m3 of ore, which is less than the ore hold on even the smallest mining ship.
As nearly all mining ships have ore holds which are as large or larger than a jetcan (in addition to the time lost in changing ships and the risk of getting your ore stolen), using jetcans is probably not worth your time. They do, however, come in very handy if you're mining with two accounts (see below).
The Giant Secure Container method of mining lets you solo mine into secure containers that have been anchored and password protected. You can then pick them up later (or have a friend pick them up for you). You need the following:
- Trained Anchoring I
- One or more secure containers (bought from the market); preferably Giant Secure Containers (the largest type)
- A system with a security rating of 0.8 or below (as you cannot anchor containers in 0.9 and 1.0 systems)
- Take a hauler and the secure containers to where you want to mine. Deploy the container about 5000 meters away from any object.
- Right-click the container in space, anchor it and then set the password. If you don't do this step your container can be looted and/or will disappear during the next downtime.
- As you mine, move the ore from your ship to the container. The containers will disappear 30 days after the last use.
- An alternative is to set up a container "nest": fly at least 150 km from a belt, anchor the container(s) there, and bookmark their location. This way, you can mine, warp to the containers, drop off the ore, warp back to the belt and continue mining.
As with jetcan mining, the large ore holds of most mining ships makes GSC mining not worthwhile for most miners.
Dual account mining
If you have two Eve accounts, you can multibox them (i.e. play them on one computer simultaneously). One of these can mine while the other ones flies a hauler to drop the mined ore at a nearby station. The miner transfers the mined ore into a jetcan or a GSC (see above) which is then picked up by the hauler. This way, the miner can mine non-stop, obtaining more ore. Eventually, the hauler character could train towards an Orca (to provide mining boosts to the miner, further increasing yield), while the miner character is free to train and fly ships like the Hulk, which have very high mining yield but small ore holds.
Of the professions in Eve, mining and production are most impacted by the player’s efficiency. For miners, it’s all about mining. Time spent hauling, killing rats, moving cans or dealing with ore thieves, can flippers and other flavors of griefers is time not spent making little rocks out of big ‘roids. Anything that can be done to eliminate or minimize the impact of all of those other factors means more little rocks in the hold, which means a fatter wallet.
A properly designed and staffed co-operative mining op allows miners to spend their time doing what they do best: mining. It also allows the miners to benefit from mining yield bonuses available only to members of a group. These bonuses can add an additional 10% or more to a miner’s yield. If the miners are mining, then someone has to haul the little rocks to the station. If the op is in lower sec regions, something other than drones may be needed to protect the miners from rats, not to mention thieves and assorted other scoundrels. Those protection activities will result in a second “mining” operation as the wrecks are looted and salvaged for the benefit of the op participants.
Our theoretical op has miners, haulers, damage dealers and salvagers; a fairly broad slice of the possible professions in Eve! Mining ops are generally more relaxed than combat fleet ops, co-operative mission running or complex clearing. Chat and/or Mumble deal with a wider variety of topics and separating the required tasks to specialists provides everyone time to participate in the conversations. Not only does this atmosphere provide a social element of connection with the other members, it lets the "teaching" move beyond mining to cover a myriad of subjects.
Mining booster fleets (BYOC)
The simplest mining fleet would be the equivalent of a spider mission fleet, in that each miner does his/her own thing while being supplied with a fleet booster which will improve everyone's yield, miner range, miner cycle time, and/or miner capacitor use (note that boosters only work within the same system). These fleets are generally a "join and leave as you want" situation, with no extra services (eg hauling, protection from rats etc) provided. "BYOC" stands for "bring your own can", meaning it's your responsibility to bring the ore you mine to a station.
It's generally suggested that you avoid mining the same asteroid as another fleet member (as there is a risk that one of you wastes a mining cycle if the asteroid depletes halfway through), although if you really want that particular asteroid you can always ask nicely if you can have it. There is usually no central belt for everyone to be working on at once, but it can be a majestic sight to see a fleet of barges and exhumers emptying a belt efficiently.
- Main article: Mining Op
The next type of fleet is more structured. A standard mining fleet in high security space generally includes a mix of mining barges, exhumers, and haulers (industrials). The miners will work on a single belt constantly, and transfer the ore they mine into a jetcan. The haulers will ferry the resources from space to a station. This makes for increased proficiency as the mining lasers never need to stop, unless you need to switch belts. Fleet boosters are usually present here as well, and an Orca may be used instead of a jetcan. Mining fleets in low-sec will also include combat ships to protect the fleet against rats and hostile players.
Splitting the ISK
Since all the ore is combined into a single pot (and often refined and sold later), you need to agree on a method of splitting the proceeds from the mining fleet between the participants. Since a fleet often includes not only miners with different skill levels flying different ships, but also fleet boosters, haulers, combat ships etc, the simplest way to split the ISK proceeds is to allocate them based on time spent in the fleet; however, this might discourage larger ships from joining the fleet. Scrapyard's Mining Op Worksheet can accomodate several different methods of weighing the contributions of fleet members. Whichever way you choose, make sure that the method of splitting the ISK is agreed upon by the fleet before the mining op starts.
Mining fleets in the Uni
Periodically, the Uni will undertake a large-scale, long-duration operation in a system other than Aldrat. These expeditions are planned and announced several weeks in advance to allow for adjustment of training schedules, acquisition of desired ships and fittings and research/scouting of the target system and surrounding space. Because of the travel involved and the length of planned stay, expedition locations generally provide opportunities for mission/complex running as well.
The Expedition Boss for a particular expedition will publish the rules for that expedition, including record keeping requirements for any Common Can portions, rules for interaction with locals and what happens to the ore mined.
Such fleets are often run to donate minerals to the University, with the added bonus of attempting to break the record for the previous donation fleet.
When completing a mining operation, you should consider posting your results here: Past Mining Fleet Results
- Ice Mining and Gas Cloud Mining: The other two kinds of mining
- Refining: What to do with all the ore you just mined
- Web Resources for Miners
- Orca Guide