Mining in Eve is just PvP against floating rocks in space. Not that you'll shoot actual ammo, but you're nuking rocks and ice and pulling the good bits back into your Ore Hold. It’s also a great time for being social on Teamspeak. Why? Well, mining is not the most exciting thing in the world, but getting to spend a few hours chatting it up with the corpies or alliance mates is awesome eve time. Whether it’s ice mining for fuel, ore mining for caps, or just mining for money; Mining is a HUGE portion of Eve. Hey, someone has to build those shiney ships you guys love so much. So lets talk quickly about mining beginnings:
Mining - Level 1
In each solar system, there's one or more asteroid belts. When you undock from a station, you can right click in the middle of space and see the option for the local asteroid belts:
These types of ore sources respawn at a slow rate each day. Typically it takes 2 weeks for a belt to fully stock with ore, however, the belts will respawn a small amount each day. It's best to switch belts routinely to keep from bleeding a system dry before it respawns. Each asteroid produces a certain type of ore. That ore, when refined, will produce one or more types of minerals. Minerals are what you build ships, modules, citadels, etc. with. They're used in nearly every construction project in Eve, but that's another article.
No area within the game contains ALL of different types of asteroids. Each regional area is lacking completely in one or more types, and depending on the Security Class of the system, you may be very restricted on the ore available to mine. So let's get your mining skills started. Depending on when you started your toon, you may or may not have the Mining skill already injected and trained. If you do, great!! If not, you will need to acquire two skillbooks:
You can buy these most anywhere in High Sec. They're cheap, quick to train, and vital to the basics of mining. Inject and train each one to Level 1.
While you are training your skills, you will also want to buy a new ship, called a Venture. Ventures are the beginner's mining vessel, so buy one along with 2 Miner I modules and put them in the high slots of the Venture. If you can use drones, this is the perfect time to pick up a pair of drones and put them in the drone bay as well. Finish out your ship with a 1MN Afterburner I, Small Shield Extender I, and Adaptive Invulnerability Field I and you're ready to start hitting the belts. Don't worry if you don't have the skills immediately to use all of these modules, training will deal with that later.
Once you've fit out your mining ship, it should look something like the following:
Now, fly out into an asteroid belt, choose an asteroid, and lock it. Once locked, turn both mining lasers on and orbit the rock at 1,000m. Hit Control-C and look in your Ore Hold. That's a special cargo hold that only holds ore, and in the Venture, it's very large. You'll probably spend 15-20 minutes filling up your hold. If the asteroid disappears (you'll get a message that the asteroid has been depleted), target another until your hold is full. Congratulations!! You're now a miner!
You, however, can do MUCH better than this!
Time to Level Up!
Now the game is to maximize your time. If you mouse over one of your mining lasers, you'll see how many m3 of ore that you're currently mining. It's tiny. You can improve this is several ways. We are going to do this by increasing Mining to level 3 and train a new skill:
Once you have trained Mining Upgrades 1, you can add a Mining Laser Upgrade I to your low slots and improve the mining yields. Each level of Mining increases your amounts, so between that and the upgrades, you'll be quicker to fill your Ore hold making money even quicker. By selling off your ore, you'll increase your wallet significantly. So let's hit the training queue again, this time aiming to use the Tech II versions of our mining modules. For this, you'll need to train Mining to 4 and Mining Upgrades to 4 as well. These skills will allow you to fit and use Miner II and Mining Laser Upgrade II modules in place of your older Tech I versions. It's an extra 30%+ to your mining yields, and you should now be able to bring in a steady income at this point.
Now it's time to take a step back and look at what makes the Venture such a good mining ship as opposed to, say, the Rookie Ships you start in.
You can see based on the traits that the Mining Frigate skill adds to your Mining yield. So, for every level of Mining Frigate, you get more ore. EXCELLENT! Getting Level 4 is less than 2 days training time, so go ahead and do that. You'll see that Mining Frigate 5 takes a good bit longer. One of the biggest reasons is because it's one of the skills that unlocks two of the T2 Mining Frigates, the Prospect and the Endurance:
Whether you go into Mining Barges or Expedition Frigates (Tech II Ventures), you are going to have to train more skills. For both of the above, after you get Mining Frigate 5, you'll have to get the rest of the prerequisite skills for Expedition Frigates: Spaceship Command 3, Industry 5, Power Grid Management 2, CPU Management 2, and Electronic Upgrades 5. Again, these are going to take some time, though you may already have all buy the last skill trained up. Afterwards, however, you'll get to fly two tougher ships. The Prospect gets additional mining yield for each skill level of Expedition Frigates. It can also use a Covert Ops Cloaking Device, which is excellent, but outside of the scope of this tutorial. The Endurance, however, is built specifically for ice mining, which will be covered in another tutorial. Ideally both of these ships are excellent upgrades from the Ventures, will push some core skills forward (which are also necessary for survival), and will give you options later on that you may really prefer.
Onward to the Mining Barges!
Ok, so the primary beast of the mining fleet is the Mining Barge. Actually, it's one of three barges in the game: the Procurer, the Retriever, and the Covetor.
To sit into any of these at this point is easy, especially if you've been routinely training. You will need: Astrogeology 3 and Mining Frigate 3. The Astrogeology skill will be new to you, and is one very much worth maxing out as a miner as it's going to add 5% per level on mining yield regardless of what ship you are in. That's free ore for a little time spent, and always worth the effort.
Now that you have your Mining Barge skill, my recommendation is to go get a Procurer first. This is not the fastest way to mine, but will be the safest in terms of tanking bigger belt rats. In Cripple Creek, we have a standard fit for Procurers that I will not list in here, but ask one of us and we'll make sure you get fitted properly. Now, you can fit a Miner II laser on your barge, but barges are really built for the Strip Miner I module. This is a much heavier miner and will pull in thousands of m3 vs. hundreds of m3 per cycle. The biggest difference outside of yield is that the Miner II usually takes around 60s per cycle where the Strip Miner I starts at 180s. A significant difference.
The nice thing, however, is that the Traits of the barges will reduce that cycle time:
There are several things listed that will give you an advantage. The first is the bonus to the yield amount is 150%. Just by sitting in the ship, you're getting more ore!! The next is per level of Mining Barge, you get a 2% reduction in duration (cycle time) and you're getting 5% more shield buffer as well. In High Sec, tank isn't really needed that much, but as you get into Low and Null Sec mining, the rats get much bigger, much tougher. The Covetor can't take but a few hits before it has to run off field and the Retriever can handle a little punishment, but will too have to leave field far more quickly than liked. The Procurer, however, is king of tank and with a good fit and decent skills, you can stave off most anything.
Normally at this point, I would give you a summary of each of the various barges, but in November 2016, we'll be getting a major change to all of them including turrets and who knows what else. So I will come back then and update the documentation. For now, as a budding miner, stay in the Procurer and max out your mining-specific skills. Once you've completed that, go ahead and start working on your various Shield and Drone skills. These are also important for survivability and are part of a Core Skill write-up you will find here soon.
Until then, Happy Mining!!