Mining is the most basic, accessible profession in EVE Online. To mine, one simply harvests the ore that floats in asteroid belts found throughout EVE Online. Because of its simplicity and ease of entry, many new players are attracted to the activity.
This is a guide to the most basic processes of mining, intended to familiarize very new players to the structure of the mining industry in EVE Online.
How Mining Works
Mining is essentially a way to convert your patience into ISK.
Sometimes, NPC pirates will appear and try to kill you while mining, in which case, you need to protect yourself or have someone else protect you. Depending on where you are and if your corporation is at war, you may also have to look out for human pirates.
The Economics of Mining
As a general rule, the more dangerous an area is, the more valuable asteroids there will be in that area. Mining in high-security space is one of the safest activities that you can perform while undocked. Since there is so little risk involved and so many people can do it without danger, it is not very lucrative. The minerals obtained from the high-sec ores are thus in high supply and low demand.
More valuable are the ores found in good sections of outlaw space or wormholes. The ores in low-security space are seemingly increasing in value over time (especially since changes in the Tyrannis patch) and may eventually eclipse the null-sec and w-space ores, depending on what happens with the overall macro-economy of EVE Online. Because low-security space is something of a cesspool, there are comparatively few people mining there.
Within each of these areas, there are a variety of different ores available. Some ores are only found in particular areas of space, while others are pretty much everywhere. Which ore is most valuable at any particular point is determined almost entirely by market forces, though you can be darn sure that the ore found in high-security space is not going to be worth very much, because there are so many people chugging away at mining it.
The Best Way To Make ISK From Mining
The best way to make ISK by mining is to find a good corporation with access to outlaw space or wormholes and then do your mining in relative safety there. You can probably earn enough to pay for your ship if it gets blown up, every hour or three. Other ways to boost your mining yield include maxing out your mining skills, training for mining barges, and generally, pursuing the mining career while obtaining superior equipment.
[PROTIP]Fair warning: There is a syndrome known as "miner's lament", where a player will spend months training mining skills only to realize that mining is ferociously boring. This happens to about half of the people that try mining. It can't be risk free and profitable at the same time and this fundamental incompatibility makes a lot of people wish that they'd gone into mission running instead.[/PROTIP]
Getting the Most from your Ore
The last thing you want to do is just sell your ore on the market without refining it. People will not buy it unless it is underpriced, and the buy orders for it will be insultingly low.
A secondary industry related to mining is that of reprocessing ore. It takes a couple months to train the skills needed to get perfect refining for any given ore, not to mention running hundreds of missions in order to get high enough standings with an NPC corporation that it will not tax your reprocessing jobs. Until you take these lengthy steps, you will lose a good portion of your refined goods to waste or NPC taxes. These is a solution, however.
The best thing for most people is to centralize their mining and have one or two dedicated refiners in their corporation do all of the refining for them. This is for trustworthy player corporations only. In an NPC corporation, you cannot afford to trust anyone with your ore. Players in an NPC corporation will almost certainly keep anything that you send to them. So your choice is to either join a corporation or persist in trying to play an MMO solo, and training up your mining skills.
Something that will earn even more money than just doing the reprocessing yourself is taking the supply chain one step further and making use of the minerals to make a commodity that you then sell on the market. It is not like you were doing anything with those manufacturing slots, anyway. A good rule of thumb is that by reprocessing your ore, you add ten percent of value to it. By manufacturing a decent commodity for sale, you will then generally add at least another ten percent of value on top of that. You do the math.
Basic Ore Mining Modules
The first step to learning more about mining is understanding how each of the different mining modules works. The basic tools for obtaining ore are as follows:
More specialized mining craft have much higher mining yields, but cost more and are not necessarily any more survivable.
- Miner I: This is the most basic mining laser, and can be fitted on any ship that has a high slot to spare. There are several named variants that offer higher yields, many of which are very cheap.
- Miner II: The tech two version of the Miner I. Requires higher skills, but gives a better yield.
- Modulated Deep Core Miner II: Takes a turret slot, and is the best mining laser that can be used on a ship that it not mining-specialized. A ship like the Rokh or Harbinger using one of these is a decent way for a person that doesn't want to train up mining barges or exhumers to still dabble in mining.
- Mining Drone I and Mining Drone II: Drones that can pull in extra ore. Not a bad idea if you are in safe area or have protection, though hulks will often rely on their drones or one quickly warping out for survival, making them less desirable for end-game mining.
There are also several varieties of mining lasers that are used on some of the more specialized mining vessels listed below, but these are not important to new players and so will be covered in more specific guides.
Basic Mining Skills
- Mining: The basic mining skill, which increases mining yields by 5% per level trained. Training various levels of this skill is required for starting other mining-related skills.
- Mining Upgrades: Allows the use of low-slot mining upgrade modules, and reduces their CPU fitting cost by 5% per level.
- Astrogeology: Additional 5% mining yield per level. Needed to use various mining barges and exhumers.
There exist a number of other specialized mining skills for dealing with mining special commodities like ice or gas, but those are well outside the scope of newbie miners.
Each race has a mining frigate and mining cruiser. These are all right for the most green of miners. More advanced miners will use either a battle cruiser, battle ship, exhumer, or mining barge, the latter two there being special class of ships not associated with any race but that have specialized roles in mining.
- Bantam - The Caldari mining frigate (probably the best mining frigate). Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Navitas - The Gallente mining frigate. Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Probe - The Minmatar mining frigate. Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Tormentor - The Amarr mining frigate. Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Arbitrator - The Amarr mining cruiser. Receives a bonus to mining drone yield.
- Osprey - The Caldari mining cruiser (probably the best mining cruiser). Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Scythe - The Minmatar mining cruiser. Receives a bonus to mining laser yield.
- Vexor - The Gallente mining cruiser. Receives a bonus to mining drone yield.
- Procurer - Not an especially worthwhile ship. Most dedicated miners skip this one.
- Retriever - A good middle-of-the-road ship for dedicated miners.
- Covetor - The best tech I mining ship in the game, it is second only to the Hulk.
- Skiff - The first tech II mining ship, it specializes in mining mercoxit and takes less damage from mining explosions.
- Mackinaw - A dedicated ice mining vessel, the Mackinaw is probably the best mining ship in high-security space because of the price difference between various ores and various ice products.
- Hulk - The queen bee of the mining hive. For the individual miner, this is the endgame ship. No single ship can pull in more ore. The training time to get into the ship is intense, though.
Other Mining-Related Ships
- Orca - The orca is an industrial command ship. It plays a support role by offering a mining bonus to nearby ships, and is able to store large amounts of cargo in its hold and corporate hangars. One of these can hold the ore for an entire small corporation mining at once.
- Rorqual - A huge capital ship that offers more significant bonuses than the orca, and can even compress large volumes of ore for shipping. Like most other capital ships, it cannot use gates or be manufactured in high-security space. It is something of a pirate miner's ship.
Recommended Mining Plan
Most players will not want to exclusively mine for the entirety of their careers in EVE Online. To that end, it is best to train up the ship skills for your race of choice and to put mining lasers on whatever the largest ship you can use is. If, by the time you can fly battleships, you still think mining is the bees' knees, it may be time to start training up for mining barges and exhumers. Train Mining to IV and Astrogeology to IV, early on, to maximize your ore intake, regardless of how your mining career plays out.