Mining op security
The E-Uni has a unique mining op SOP. I suspect it is to account for a larger than average number of newer players mining in frigates. I also suspect that a large number of those same players who leave the Uni only having experienced E-Uni's protocols will have a culture shock when introduced to more conventional mining operations. So I will discuss security procedures found in those mining ops. For more information on E-Uni mining ops see here and here.
The purpose of this page is to introduce newer players to various mining op security tactics for use in high sec mining. Low sec and null sec have their own pitfalls and perils, requiring different tactics and techniques and will not be discussed here. High sec ops range from solo mining to large scale organized ops and there are four primary types of ships people mine in, frigates, cruisers, barges and exhumers, and battle ships. I will discuss the three primary threats in the belt (NPC rats, can flippers, and pirate gankers) and how to defend against them in different situations.
Regardless of your ship type, there is one thing you should always do, fit a tank. If you are in a frig, this might be limited to a small shield booster, but fit what you can.
In a frigate, your options are limited but vary a little based on your racial frigate. The best option, regardless of your race, is to find a larger ship capable of defending itself and getting near it to mine. When the rats come into the belt, this ship will take action to defend itself and thereby defend you as well. If you can't find any other ships to mine near then this is the point that your ships race comes into play. All racial frigates except the Minmitar Burst have a drone bay capable of carrying one drone and a light scout drone is easy to get. The Burst's option for a weapon is to fit a gun on one high slot but since you only have two high slots and this will cut your mining capability in half. An advantage the Burst does have is its three mid slots. This allows you to fit a better shield tank if you have the skills. Likewise, the three low slots in the Amarr Tormentor, allows you to fit a armor tank in the low slots.
Cruiser is where you begin to have serious options for defense. Cruisers have drone bays capable of holding several drones. At this point, you should train your drone skills up. Amarr and Gallente cruisers get a yield bonus to mining drones so carry those and fit a couple of guns in your high slots. Caldari and Minmatar cruisers get a yield bonus to mining lasers so carry combat drones and fit mining lasers. Light scout drones can used relatively quickly, need only Drones trained to III and Scout Drone Operations trained to I allows you to deploy 3 drones.
If you are mining in a BS, play with your fit to see if you get a better yield with mining lasers or drones and fit your ship appropriately. If you are in an Exhumer or Mining Barge, the yield on your strip miners makes mining drones pointless so fit combat drones as your skills allow.
The simplest way to avoid can flippers is not to jet can mine. Either belt to station mine or place Giant Secure Containers (GCS). The first, while safe, is slow and limits your yield per hour. The second requires you to be able to haul a GSC out to a spot and then be able to anchor.
There are other options as well. You can buddy mine with a hauler who picks up out of your can as soon as you drop into it. If you are mining in a mining barge or larger, I recommend fitting the hauler with a tractor beam and keeping 15km apart. This will keep both ships from being hit by a single gank ship. This has the benefit of allowing the mining ship to stay in the belt mining and increases the yield per hour but at the cost of bringing in an extra ship that does not produce any ore but will still be paid as if it is.
The next technique is my personal favorite for solo mining. You set up bookmarks throughout the belt and at a safe drop spot for you cans. Position yourself at one end of the belt and set up a BM at approximately 75% to 80% of your mining laser (drone) range. Move to that spot and set up another BM approximately 175% of your max range. This will give you some overlap between the two spots so you do not miss anything. Repeat this process throughout the belt(s). Once you are done, open your people and places folder in the Neocom and select places. You will see a tab at the bottom labeled "Create Bookmark". Warp yourself to a celestial several AU away. When you are approximately 150km into warp, create a BM and label it as your can safe drop spot. The cans will show up on the D-scan but will not show up into the overview and can not be warped to and will generally be to much work for a can flipper who is looking to grief you or looking for an easy pay day. There is one more method but it is not always practical. That is to have a combat ship provide over-watch as a deterrent.
The last security problem we will talk about is pirate gankers. Barges and exhumers are most at risk for this. If you are mining in a frigate or cruiser, this is not a big concern for you as you are not a high value enough of a target to make it worth the ganker's risk. Your first concern is to maintain comm security. If you are in a corp with open recruiting policies, such as E-Uni, never discuss op location or any details other than staging info in open channels. Failure to adhere to this rule cost the members of my last corp tens of billions of ISK and cost me personally over 100 million ISK in about 30 seconds. Next keep your fleet spread out in the belt. Ships should be 15km or greater apart so that no one smart bomb can get more than one ship, if possible.
There are a few other ways to deal with them depending on the nature of your op. If you are in an ice field where the roids don't pop, set up a BM somewhere between the middle of the ice field and the belt warp in spot. Warp to that spot to mine. By not being a target of convenience, you decrease your risk. If you are in a regular roid belt, pick two celestial objects which are in relatively opposite directions. Get above or below the belt horizon, align to one and keep moving at instawarp speed. Once you are almost out of the range of your mining laser, align towards the other and repeat.