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Are you fond of Minerals and Metals? Have a seat, and learn the ropes of the real Miners with our Complete Miner Guide!
You will learn how to understand the values of what you’ve mined, how to best outfit your ship, how to find better asteroids fields and how to make profit out of it.
Why should you become a miner? Mining means Gross profit while you directly mine the metals, minerals and materials that can be found in the giant asteroids fields floating around large celestial objects. You also have some unique outfitting opportunities that makes the role feels unique: Deploy drones to prospect and collect, mine these big rocks into chunks, process your gathering, and refine them thanks to your refinery!
You will then be able to sell these metals and minerals to diverse starports depending on their economies in order to get the most credit our of your mined items. The materials you found out there will also be really helpful for your Synthesis and Engineers schematics.
The basics :
- Equip the appropriate outfit: Prospector and Collector modules, refinery, one or multiple mining lasers, a minimum of 20 free units in cargo, powerful lights.
- Have a large freighter in order to stock your drones and mined items. Materials don’t take any space in your cargo and are stored separately, you will not lose them if your ship were about to explode.
- Discern the Metals, Minerals and Materials that you will gather in the asteroids fields. You will gain time, and credits.
- Don’t spend all of your credits in upgrading your FSD. However, the farthest your will jump, the better (~15 to 20 LY is great already).
- Focus your efforts on mining speed, collection speed and a Refinery suited to your miner’s gameplay.
- Weapons to defend yourself against pirates if you want to. Turrets on slow ships and guided weapons or quicker ones. Keep in mind that pirates can kill you pretty easily.
Of course you can mine with any ship, however some ships are better at mining than others thanks to their modules sizes and space. With a proper and outfitted mining ship, you will be able to make more profit out of these great asteroids fields with a minimum effort.
The ships are built differently depending on your play-style, the distance to your preferred mining area, the items that you want to mine. There is three distinct styles that we will detail in the next chapter.
◘ An outfit suited for a Miner:
- Mining Laser: The one and only tool that allows you to mine items from the asteroids, it is mandatory. You can’t use it to fight enemies // These modules exist in two classes: C1 allows a slow mining with minimum energy required, and C2 allows you to mine faster, however it require more energy from your generator and distributor. You can equip as much as you want in order to increase your mining speed, but keep in mind that you need to collect the mined items quickly as they will decay in space. Balance your ship for a fast mining speed / collector speed.
- Abrasion Blaster – A new hardpoint module with which Commanders can shoot at Surface Deposits, breaking them off for collection. Whether you do it manually, using the cargo scoop, or with limpets, you’ll be able to collect the resources at your leisure.
- Sub-surface Displacement Missile – This new hardpoint module is used for harvesting Sub-surface Deposits. Described as a ‘drill on the end of a missile’, this digs in to the rock at the point of impact. The cockpit interface will then show the displacement missile travelling through the rock. Holding down the trigger and releasing at a the optimal time displayed by the interface will allow you to recover valuable sub-surface minerals.
- Seismic Charge Warheads – Certain asteroids, as identified by the fissures discovered on their surface, can be completely broken apart to reveal a treasure trove of resources. Commanders will place Seismic Charges within the fissures at a particular charge level.
- Pulse Wave Analyser – Upon arrival within a ring, firing this module will send out a pulse of energy that will highlight any asteroids that have lucrative deposits on them.
- Refinery: This module exists in four sizes, C1 to C4, and it is also mandatory to refine your mined items into units of metals and minerals. Gathering chunks of an element out of an asteroid will increase the % refined of this element. When it reached 100%, you will be granted with 1 unit of this element // The higher Class is your Refinery, the more bins you will have in order to store the chunks of elements before refining them (A>B>C>D>E). If you mine everything, it is better to buy a large refinery. However if you only target certain elements, it is wise to buy a smaller Refinery.
- Prospector drones: This module will configure your limpets so they can prospect asteroids and return some information upon acquisition (when the drone hangs on the asteroid). You will know the % of metals and minerals into the asteroid you’ve prospected as long as their affluence in materials. Please note that prospecting an asteroid before processing a mining on it will double the amount of elements that you can collect out of it.
- Collector drones: This module will configure your limpets so they can collect the chunks of asteroids that you’ve mined. They will directly haul the element to your cargo bay, don’t forget to open your cargo hatch so the drones can put these elements into your Refinery.
- Of course, you need as much Free space in Cargo as possible !
- Don’t forget to buy limpets thanks to the Advanced Maintenance panel in the adequate stations. Generally, you can fill you cargo with 2/3 of limpets.
- If you want a Shield Generator, a Fuel Scoop, a Discovery Scanner, a Detailed Surface Scanner, Weapons, … you’re free to do so depending on your play-style.
◘ In order to help you with your first mining ships, here are five examples:
Make it less expensive by replacing the A rated modules for some C or even D.
- Adder – Size: Small
- 16 units Cargo + a Collector module (drones are up for 12 minutes) so I can gather whatever pops near me. It’s difficult to equip a Prospector module with so little Cargo. Great drives and utility modules are a must-have to flee quickly if pirates are attacking you. A Mining laser C2 will fit perfectly with your C2 Power Distributor. A tiny Refinery 1A will be enough to cover your duty. Please note that you don’t have any scanner, you will need to mine in systems you already know about.
- Keelback – Size: Large
- 64 units cargo will make you happy with this two Collector drones and two Mining lasers C1 build. You also have a Prospector drone which will be very useful in order to mine only the interesting asteroids while extracting even more elements. The Refinery 2A has 6 bins; it will be enough. Yo dawg, your Keelback is sturdy, but I added two Guided Pulse lasers so you can defend yourself efficiently against pirates… while still mining that asteroid! Your aren’t a fast ship, nor very nimble, so count on your Hardness value and Utility modules to escape if things are getting too dangerous. You also can swap a module for a Fighter hangar, in the case you would like a bodyguard to protect your Cargo.
- Type 9 – Size: Huge
- What a monster, 396 units Cargo and three Collector drones who will make a great relay between you and the asteroid while gathering the chunks you’ve mined with your three Mining lasers C2. No weapons however as the only ones you could equip are placed to the left and right of your cockpit… not very useful for a defense protocol. If you want to, let’s equip two Mining laser C1 and three Guided Pulse laser C2, but it would break the build on mining speed and collection speed. This configuration allows you to send up to two Prospector drones at once; it is very useful to speed up the process. The Refinery 4A is the best one you could have: 10 bins! You also have a Repair module to counter the possible heat or snipe on your modules during a pirate raid. I would advise a Fighter hangar to better protect your ship against offenders: it would be the only defence your Type 9 has with the 6A shields and Utility modules.
- My Cobra MkIV – Dédicated to exploration and mining sample of new Asteroids fields that I discover
- This is not the best miner you can have, however I find it useful at gathering samples from the asteroids fields I discover. I can analyze future targets for my Type 7 (who don’t have any scanners) once I’ve approved the area. Torpedoes are threatening your foes: all you want is to get away from here as soon as possible if you’re spotted. You don’t have any shield, you are fast and nimble, your ship is thin and hard to target while you flee away… and you obviously activated the stealth mode.
- My Type 7 – Dédicated to Mass Mining
- Buffed for the Patch 2.2, he’s coming back with moar shields, moar modules, and even more Cargo space!
- Buffed for the Patch 2.2, he’s coming back with moar shields, moar modules, and even more Cargo space!
There are three mining styles : the Focused Miner, the Mass Miner, and the Group Miner.
- The Focused Miner chooses carefully the elements he wishes to gather while prospecting/probing the asteroids rings. These pilots need to find the best elements thanks to their pulse wave analyzer, those that sell very well at the best price. It is generally a type of gameplay for small to medium sized ships as they have little space in their Cargo. Don’t forget that prospecting doubles the quantity of elements mined on an asteroid; if it’s full of Painite: HOORAH!
- The Mass Miner has a lot of space in its Cargo hold. Miners playing this type of gameplay have long-lasting Collector drones and several Mining lasers in order to mine as much elements in a minimum of time. You will have a high mining speed and collection speed thanks to your multiple Collector drones. Try to aim for the top metals and minerals when possible, generally by using your Pulse Wave Analyzer. Usually, you already know what you will find in the area you’re about to mine in.
- The Group Miner is indeed for miners playing in squads :
- The mineurs – Equip your Mining tools & lasers + Prospector drones! Your goal is to extract as much elements from the asteroids near your cargo-ships. This is usually played by Sidewinder, Adder, Cobra, … Think about specialization, you need to complete the other miners.
- The gatherer – You need to focus on Collector drones but feel free to equip some Mining lasers if you’re able to. Leave the tools to the miners as they’re usually smaller ships than yours. You would rather go for the best turrets in order to protect your allies. It is indeed better if you have some security guards with you. Obviously, you have a Refinery Class 4 rated A. This is usually played by Anaconda, Type 9, Cutter, …
I – Where should I mine?
There are different places where mining is possible, however some are way more interesting than others. Such asteroid fields have already been found by the community, there are always more to find, but let’s learn first how to find interesting areas by yourself, shall we? Minerals and Metals are the two main items your are looking for if you want to ear credits. Chemicals Products aren’t that interesting (mainly in Icy fields)
First, open your galactic map and check out the systems nearby. Note that the more you are in the center of the Human bubble where the traffic is huge, the less great areas you will find as these are heavily exploited.
Use your Discovery Scanners to analyze the systems and gather details. This will help you in finding the right spot for your mining session.
Don’t forget to bring a Detailed Surface Scanner to toss probes at the asteroids rings. It will display the best spots in the asteroids rings.
◘ There are two areas full of asteroids:
- [X] Asteroids belts, they can appear between bodies or close to the star – Not interesting, forget about them.
- [✓] Planets’ rings, orbiting around high gravity bodies – You need to aim for these.
◘ In these two mining areas, there are different types of fields:
- [✓] Icy – Different materials and mineral can be found here if you’re skilled and lucky: Low Temperatures Diamonds, Bromellite, …
- [X] Rocky – Mainly low values metals and minerals: Indite, Rutile, Bauxite, …
- [✓] Metal Rich – Interesting values from metals and minerals here: Bertrandite, Silver, Samarium, …
- [✓✓] Metallic – That’s what I’m talking about, METAL: Gold, Platinium, Painite, …
◘ Finally, these areas have quality and sizes:
- [XX] Depleted – Nope!
- [X] Low Reserves – Hmmm, still nope!
- [✓] Common Reserves – Sure can do better.
- [✓] Major Reserves – Ok, let’s bookmark it you can mine there.
- [✓✓] Pristine Reserves – Very rare, if you found an Icy or Metallic one: Congrats, keep it and make profit out of it!
Keep in mind that the more time you pass looking for an interesting field, the less time you will loose wandering in space.
Now here are several interesting systems known for their huge and excellent Icy, Metal Rich and Metallic asteroids fields. A station within reach is often welcome in order to sell quickly your items, but generally these buy your good at lower prices. It all depends on your play-style.
Here is how you go to work, by approaching these rings:
- Avoid the Resource Extraction Site, they have a lot of pirates and are heavily exploited;
- Approach the ring at full speed and then reduce to 75% speed when you are at 6s from objective;
- Keep on approaching the aimed area and lower your speed to 25%;
- Reduce your speed to 10%, then 0% while your are slowly diving into your final approach;
- Raise your sensors, so you can detect things from afar (asteroids and other ships);
- While you approach the first asteroids, lower your sensors to 50% and put your lights on if needed;
- Hey-oh, let’s go!
II – Mining efficiently
Awww, credits everywhere! Asteroids. I mean, asteroids. Their textures mush be metallic-ish and smooth or white and icy.
Again, don’t forget that Prospector drones will double the quantity of elements that you can mine out of asteroids.
- Approach the chosen mining site. Reduce your supercruise speed to 75% to get there smoothly.
- Start your Pulsed Wave Analyzer to choose your asteroids
- Approach and launch a prospecting drone. You will get an overview of the items to recover through which tools
- Remember to launch your collector drones if you have them, and open your cargo hatch.
- Approach the asteroid a bit more, and use your Mining Laser to empty the asteroid. At the same time, if you can, use your tools to extract the elements hung on the surface or hidden just below the surface of the asteroid; Respectively thanks to Abrasion Blaster and the Sub-surface Displacement Missile
- If the prospecting drone has indicated elements hidden in the asteroid’s core, it’s time to launch Seismic charges with the right charge level. Note that fissures have different strength.
- The lower this strength, the less the tool will need to be charged.
- The asteroid explodes after your Seismic charges process, and many chunks of items can then be gathered. Other chunks hung inside the cracked asteroid, for you to mine.
- Repeat on another asteroid
When a Collector drone brings a fragment of ore in your ship, it will be added to the bins in your Refinery. The better Refinery have more bins than the lower classes. A bin must have or exceed 100% to create 1 unit of this ore. The latter will then be added to your cargo.
If you don’t have an interest in an element in your bins, feel free to vent it. This will free the spot.
Fill your cargo until you cannot hold more, and then head to the station where you will sell your findings.
Here is a board, representing values of the Minerals and Metals. The Chemicals are not interesting as their values don’t exceed 900Cr per units
III – Where should I sell my ores?
Once you’re ready to sell the fruits of your labor, have a look at your Cargo. Here you should have Metals and/or Minerals: these two elements are best sold in different stations in order to make the most profit. However, in order to gain time, we would like to sell them in the same place. Let’s check for systems’ economies.
Open your map as specified with the image below and highlight “Extraction”, “Industrial”, “Refinery” and “High-Tech”.
Then sell everything in the stations depending on their economies. Check the Trader’s Bible from CMDR Prometheus Darko. Osmium and Painite are well sold in the Industrial stations.
Tadam, here are your credits! Maybe not the best profit you can do in Elite: Dangerous but it’s pretty fun and you still can earn a lot.
1) Before going on an adventure, check the Missions Board! You could find some interesting missions, bring even more credits into your account.
2) Even if your Cargo is full, let’s fill the Refinery as well! Once your Cargo is all sold in a station, refine these items and sell the freshly made units of ores.
3) An asteroid spins on itself, be careful about your moves and its moves! It is very important to put your lights on, or to mine in a sunny area. Avoid the dark areas “behind” the planetsI.
4) The limpets/drones are sold in the Advanced Maintenance panel of stations, if they provide this type of service. They actually take space in your cargo. Let’s fill 90% of your cargo if you are a Focused Miner, or 50% if you are a Mass Miner.
5) Don’t go too far from your drones, they have a range max between you and them. Beyond this max range, they will no longer find you and cry, alone, in space… why have you forgotten them?! :'(
Any comments or error found? Feel free to share your thoughts with us!