Moon mining

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Background and History

The Lifeblood expansion was released on October 24, 2017, and brought with it substantial changes to the process of moon mining. Previously moon mining was completed using player-owned starbases, but the Lifeblood expansion introduced a new class of Upwell structures called refineries, which if anchored in 0.5 space or below near a moon mining beacon can use a Standup Moon Drill to extract a chunk of the moon for mining.

Moon Scanning

Note: This section uses images and scan results taken prior to the moon mineral distribution changes in March 2020, which removed regular ores from moons.

Moons may be scanned with survey probes along with a survey probe launcher.

Moon scans return details on the average output of a moon, and allow would-be moon miners to understand what the value of the moon might be so that the best available moon can be selected. An example of a moon scan result is shown below.


Moon scanning is different than probe scanning from exploration, in two critical ways. First, Survey probes are consumed when they are launched, and cannot be recalled to the ship. Second, the ship must be pointed directly at the target moon when the probe is launched. If the ship is not facing the moon when a survey probe is launched, the probe may 'miss' the moon and return no results. The probe is still consumed when this happens.


Survey Probes

There are three types of Survey probes. They differ in skill requirement, size, and the "maximum flight time" which is the measure used for how long it will take to return data. The data returned by each type of probe will always be the same, so the primary considerations are how many a ship can carry (if probing a system with lots of moons, or many systems) and how long it takes to get the results.

Survey Probe Type Skill Requirement Volume Flight Time
Quest Survey Probe I Survey III, Astrometrics III 5m3 1200s (20 minutes)
Discovery Survey Probe I Survey III, Astrometrics III 10m3 300s (5 minutes)
Gaze Survey Probe I Omega.png Survey V, Astrometrics V 5m3 150s (2.5 minutes)

There is no T2 Survey probe, although the Gaze Survey Probe is restricted to Omega-only.

Survey Probe Launchers

The Survey Probe Launcher fits in a high slot, but does not require a turret or launcher hardpoint. This allows it to be used on a wide variety of hulls. Unlike the probes themselves, there is a T2 variant of the launcher, which grants a 10% reduction to the probe's scan time. Only one survey probe launcher of either variant can be fitted to a ship at a time.

Performing the Activity

Survey Probes must be launched directly at the target moon, from within 100,000km of it. This means you must physically align your ship to the moon, as the probe is launched in a straight line along your path of travel. Once in range and aligned, cycle the Survey Probe Launcher to launch a probe. It does not auto-repeat, but it will auto-reload if emptied and additional probes are available in the cargohold.

Upon launching a probe, a new window will be displayed showing the remaining time for the probe to return its results. The ship must stay in-system and undocked until the results are sent back from the probe, and the results will appear in the bottom half of the same window. The window will keep these results until the user logs out of the game, even if they move to another system. Individual results can be cleared by right clicking on the moon name and selecting Delete.

Moon probing screen.png

The probe results window does not allow copying to clipboard via typical keyboard commands such as Ctrl+C, however there is a "Copy to Clipboard" button which will copy the entire list of probe results into a tab-delimited format that can easily be pasted into another program:

Moon Moon Product Quantity Ore TypeID SolarSystemID PlanetID MoonID

Mesybier II - Moon 1 Glossy Scordite 0.300030559301 46687 30004975 40315069 40315070 Immaculate Jaspet 0.328855156898 46682 30004975 40315069 40315070 Pellucid Crokite 0.287893354893 46677 30004975 40315069 40315070 Sylvite 0.083220936358 45491 30004975 40315069 40315070 Mesybier V - Moon 1 Dazzling Spodumain 0.397311687469 46688 30004975 40315073 40315074 Immaculate Jaspet 0.412641495466 46682 30004975 40315073 40315074 Sylvite 0.190046817064 45491 30004975 40315073 40315074

The values listed in this export are the Ore name, the Quantity (as a percentage, on a 0-1 scale), the TypeID of the ore, and the ID's for the Solar System, Planet and Moon. Much of this data is redundant, but it makes for good error-checking if the results are to be run through a script or stored in a database.

Converted into a more legible table format:

Moon Product Quantity (%) Ore TypeID SolarSystemID PlanetID MoonID
Mesybier II - Moon 1
Glossy Scordite 0.300030559301 46687 30004975 40315069 40315070
Immaculate Jaspet 0.328855156898 46682 30004975 40315069 40315070
Pellucid Crokite 0.287893354893 46677 30004975 40315069 40315070
Sylvite 0.083220936358 45491 30004975 40315069 40315070

There is no known limit to how many probes a player may have active at any given time, only a practical limit on how many one can launch while moving between moons to launch more, before the results start to return and clear their respective probes from the list. There is also no reason to launch additional probes at the same moon - the results are always accurate regardless of the probe type used, and will never change even after moon extractions have begun.

Moon Ore Extraction

Once a moon has been identified as a good candidate, a refinery is anchored near the moon mining beacon and then the refinery must be equipped with a moon mining drill service module. The moon mining drill can then be activated to extract a chunk of the moon over a period of 6 to 56 days, slowly pulling the chunk closer to the refinery. The length of extraction is directly related to the amount which will be extracted, calculated with 20.000 m³ per hour of preparation. After the extraction period has passed, the refinery owner has a period of time to detonate the moon ore chunk into a mineable asteroid field which includes both normal ores and moon-specific ores. If the chunk is not detonated manually, it will automatically detonate after approximately three hours, modifiable with rigs.

Moon Ore Mining

Once a moon chunk has been extracted using a Refinery, it exists as an asteroid field which contains special moon-specific ores. After extraction, the mining is performed using the same mining equipment and processes used for asteroid Mining. Mining crystals are available for each class of moon ore to improve efficiency of Tech 2 mining lasers, provided the player trains the appropriate moon ore reprocessing skill.

Ore Types

Asteroid Ore

Moon-specific Ore

In addition to the classic minerals that other ores provide, some materials required for T2 construction can only be found in moon ores. Like the normal asteroid ores, moon ores also have basic, improved, and excellent quality types. However, moon ore quality more strongly affects the reprocessed minerals received. The improved ores yield a 15% bonus, while the excellent ores provide a 100% bonus on minerals received through reprocessing.

There are 5 classes of moon ore, as shown in the table below. All classes are available in low and null-sec systems, but High sec and Wormhole systems may only have R4 (Ubiquitous) ores.

Ubiquitous Common Uncommon Rare Exceptional
R4 R8 R16 R32 R64
High Sec
Low Sec
Null Sec

Moon-specific ores are often of mixed quality, with the same moon pull containing both regular and improved quality of the same ore. However there is a chance that, at the time of detonating a moon chunk to create the asteroid field, that there will be a bright blue flash - this has come to be known as a "jackpot" and indicates that the moon ores for that particular extraction will all be of the excellent quality instead.

Moon Ore Refining

The following tables show the minerals and special materials present in 1000 m3 of each moon ore. Values are for the basic ore. Any decimal values from the improved ores (+15%) are rounded up to the next whole number.

Ore R4.png Ubiquitous (R4) Moon Ore Yield (per 1000 m³)
Moon Ore R4 Minerals Normal Minerals
Mineral pyerite.png Pyerite Mineral mexallon.png Mexallon
Bitumens Hydrocarbons.png 65 Hydrocarbons 6000 400
Coesite Silicates.png 65 Silicates 2000 400
Sylvite Evaporite deposits.png 65 Evaporite Deposits 4000 400
Zeolites Atmospheric gases.png 65 Atmospheric Gases 8000 400
Ore R8.png Common (R8) Moon Ore Yield (per 1000 m³)
Moon Ore R8 Minerals
Cobaltite Cobalt.png 40 Cobalt
Euxenite Scandium.png 40 Scandium
Scheelite Tungsten.png 40 Tungsten
Titanite Titanium.png 40 Titanium
Ore R16.png Uncommon (R16) Moon Ore Yield (per 1000 m³)
Moon Ore R16 Minerals R4 Minerals
Chromite Chromium.png 40 Chromium Hydrocarbons.png 10 Hydrocarbons
Otavite Cadmium.png 40 Cadmium Atmospheric gases.png 10 Atmospheric Gases
Sperrylite Platinum.png 40 Platinum Evaporite deposits.png 10 Evaporite Deposits
Vanadinite Vanadium.png 40 Vanadium Silicates.png 10 Silicates
Ore R32.png Rare (R32) Moon Ore Yield (per 1000 m³)
Moon Ore R32 Minerals R8 Minerals R4 Minerals
Carnotite Technetium.png 50 Technetium Cobalt.png 10 Cobalt Atmospheric gases.png 15 Atmospheric Gases
Cinnabar Mercury.png 50 Mercury Tungsten.png 10 Tungsten Evaporite deposits.png 15 Evaporite Deposits
Pollucite Caesium.png 50 Caesium Scandium.png 10 Scandium Hydrocarbons.png 15 Hydrocarbons
Zircon Hafnium.png 50 Hafnium Titanium.png 10 Titanium Silicates.png 15 Silicates
Ore R64.png Exceptional (R64) Moon Ore Yield (per 1000 m³)
Moon Ore R64 Minerals R16 Minerals R8 Minerals R4 Minerals
Loparite Promethium.png 22 Promethium Platinum.png 10 Platinum Scandium.png 20 Scandium Hydrocarbons.png 20 Hydrocarbons
Monazite Neodymium.png 22 Neodymium Chromium.png 10 Chromium Tungsten.png 20 Tungsten Evaporite deposits.png 20 Evaporite Deposits
Xenotime Dysprosium.png 22 Dysprosium Caesium.png 10 Caesium Cobalt.png 20 Cobalt Atmospheric gases.png 20 Atmospheric Gases
Ytterbite Thulium.png 22 Thulium Cadmium.png 10 Cadmium Titanium.png 20 Titanium Silicates.png 20 Silicates

Mining (Moon Mining· Ice Mining · Gas Cloud Mining
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