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Mining Basics in EVE Online – How to make ISK Series

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This is part of a new series of EVE Online tutorials for the worlds best spaceship MMO in 2019. This series will focus on teaching new players the basics of how to make ISK (in-game money) and how to do it effectively.

What is Mining?

Mining is one of the more accessible areas of making ISK in EVE Online. It’s not the fastest way to make ISK, but it is very easy to get into and a great way to make friends and connections in New Eden. All forms of mining can be found in every system in New Eden, regardless of security status, although going out into Null Security space is where the most valuable resources can be found in abundance. Learn to check systems you enter for Cosmic Anomalies, and learn to identify the Mining-based ones.

There are different types of mining, each with their own income potential and risks associated.

Asteroid Mining – This is the first introduction that many players have into mining and industry in EVE Online. Individual players can make a decent living, even in High Security space, just chewing away rocks in Asteroid Fields.

Ice Harvesting – Ice Belts are the cream of the crop when it comes to specialty mining. They require a bit more skill investment, as mining the actual ice requires special skills and fits, but it’s not too much more difficult than basic asteroid chewing. And since the ice products are used in Fuel Blocks, which are always in steady demand across New Eden, it’s a great source of passive ISK.

Gas Cloud Harvesting – If you want to really get into specialty mining and niche manufacturing, harvesting Gas, known as “huffing”, is the way to go. The Gasses are found most often in specialty PvE sites which are scanned down as Cosmic Anomalies. However, because they’re a bit rarer than other sites, they’re usually cleared out of resources very quickly, and since they randomly respawn in different systems, they’re hard to follow. The most reliable method for grabbing these resources is in Wormholes, but those dangerous spaces have their own challenges. This is more for experienced solo players as a bit of a challenge.

Moon Mining – This is the arena where the big boys play. Since CCP revamped Moon Mining with the Upwell Structure updates, moon mining has been made much more accessible. There’s a whole sub-system to chewing up moons, but the basic idea is that player groups spawn their own asteroid belts, which contain a wealth of both Asteroid minerals and high volumes of the Moon-specific drops. Player groups often fight skirmishes over the control of the most valuable moons.

What kind of mining you decide to do is mostly limited by your ISK reserves and your skills. The more trained your character is, the more potential ISK you can make with mining. But you may also have to sink more ISK into skills, ships and modules.

General Tips

  • Don’t Get Greedy – The top-end of miners in EVE put a ton of time and ISK into their mining, and it’s usually in service to a greater industry effort as part of a player alliance. Mining for new players is a way to make a bit of starter ISK on the way to trying other areas of EVE out. Be sure to experience as much of the game as you can, and not to get stuck doing just PvE, you’ll have much more fun.
  • Have a Training Plan – For most mining adventures, you need to train skills like CPU Management, Power Grid Management, Capacitor Management and Capacitor Systems Operation to level IV. But the point here is to understand what point you want to end up in your mining efforts and aim for that point. Why train for optimum usage of Mining Barges when you just want to huff gas in wormholes via Frigates?
  • Know What to Mine – Knowing what ores are most valuable is important when you’re looking to maximize ISK/hour. Here’s a handy tool for pricing Ores in EVE.
  • Stay Aligned – Alignment is part of entering warp, you have to aligned to your destination before you can warp. Being pre-aligned and somewhat off of the warp-in landing spot can make your escape easier. Here’s a helpful video on this.
  • Server  Maintenance – Exploiting time zones if you can is very helpful if you’re looking to do anything in EVE Online. At the refresh of the servers each day, players are usually pretty slow to get back on. And at the point where servers come back up, all of the Ice fields are refreshed, so if you’re harvesting Ice, server downtime can be your friend. Each day, all EVE server clusters go offline from 11:00-11:15 UTC for routine maintenance.
  • Join a Group – Having players around can help in a variety of ways, from scouting, to moving and refining mined assets. And having a fleet on standby to help if you get attacked out in lower Security space is a great help in a clutch. Make friends, but be safe, it’s a pretty rough universe out there.
  • Don’t be AFK – The amount of risk you take while mining is entirely dependent on where you wish to mine. High Security space is a little more protected, but you can still be easily ganked. Ganking involves simply blowing up your ship before CONCORD can respond. The best way avoid this is to not present too juicy of a target and to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be Aware – When scanning down Anomalies, always use your Directional Scanner to probe a site before warping in. Burning “Safes” in your most traveled systems is really useful for this, as well as evading foes.
  • Learn how Aggression and CONCORD work. The following table gives the time in seconds between the offending action and the first felt action of a CONCORD ship when CONCORD has just spawned in a system. You’ll need to survive this long if you get ganked in a system to have CONCORD come in and save you.
  • 0.5: Roughly 19 seconds
  • 0.6: Roughly 14 seconds
  • 0.7 : Roughly 10 seconds
  • 0.8 : Roughly 7 seconds
  • 0.9 and 1.0: Roughly 6 seconds

Skills

The importance of skills cannot be underestimated. The basic set of skills will enable you to start your Mining endeavors, while more advanced set will greatly increase your gathering efficiency, which will have a large impact on your income. We also cannot forget about skills which will allow you to pilot specific mining and industrial Spaceships (on Skill level 1), and increase bonuses that they provide (on all skill levels); both Ships and Skills corresponding with them will be covered in further sections of this guide).

Skill Name Description
Mining Enables you to use Mining Lasers; it provides a 5% bonus to ore yield per level, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level IV)
Ice Harvesting Enables you to harvest Ice; it provides a 5% cycle time reduction per level, requires Mining IV, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level II)
Gas Harvesting Enables you to harvest Gas; each level lets you use one more Gas Cloud Harvester, requires Mining IV, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level II)
Deep Core Mining Enables you to mine Mercoxit (found in Wormholes and Nullsec); each skill level lowers the chance that a Damage cloud will form while mining Mercoxit by 20%. This skill requires Mining V and Astrogeology V, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Astrogeology Enables you to analyze contents of celestial objects, increasing your ore mining yield by 5% per skill level. This skill requires Mining IV and Science IV, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Mining Upgrades Enables you to use Mining Upgrades; each skill level reduces the CPU penalty of Mining Upgrade modules by 5%. This skill requires Mining III, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level IV)
Drones Rigging Enables you to fit your ship with Mining Drone Augmentor Rigs; each level reduces drawbacks of Drone Rigs by 10%, it costs 100 thousand ISK, requires Jury Rigging III, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level III)
Drones Enables you to control Drones; each level increases the maximum number of active drones by 1. This skill has no prerequisites, and can be trained by Alpha Clones (up to level 5)
Mining Drone Operation Improves your ability to control Mining Drones; each level provides a 5% bonus to Mining Drone yield. This skill requires Mining II and Drones I, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Drone Interfacing Improves your Drone maintenance skills; each level increases Drone’s Damage and Mining yield by 10%. This skill requires Drones V, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level IV)
Capital Industrial Ships Enables you to operate Capital Industrial Ships; this skill is required to pilot Rorqual class vessels. This skill requires Capital Ships II, Advanced Spaceship Command V, Industrial Command Ships III, and Industrial Reconfiguration I, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Industrial Command Ships Enables you to operate Industrial Command Ships; this skill is required to pilot Orca and Porpoise class vessels. This skill requires Spaceship Command V, Mining Director I, and Ore Industrial III, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Mining Barge Enables you to operate Ore Mining Barges; this skill is required to pilot Covetor, Procured and Retriever class vessels. This skill requires Mining Frigate III, Industry V, and Astrogeology III, and cannot be learned by Alpha Clones
Exhumers Enables you to operate Elite Mining Barges; this skill is required to pilot Skiff, Hulk, and Mackinaw class vessels. This skill requires Spaceship Command IV, Industry V, and Astrogeology V, and cannot be learned by Alpha Pilots
Mining Frigate Enables you to operate Ore Mining Frigates; this skill is required to pilot Venture class vessels. This skill requires Spaceship Command I, and can be learned by Alpha Clones (up to level IV)
Expedition Frigates Enables you to operate Expedition Frigates; this skill allows you to pilot Endurance and Prospect class vessels.  This skill requires Spaceship Command III, Industry V, and Electronic Upgrades V, and cannot be learned by Alpha Pilots
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Modules

Ships and fits are a huge part of success in EVE Online, and this is true for mining as well. As a new player, you’re limited skill points and ISK reserves limit you to Frigates and basic Tech 1 fits, but you will eventually graduate to larger ships, and even fleets once you get enough experience. Keeping in mind the skill requirements of a fit you plan to use is a must for learning the limits of your character and what skills you need to train.

Modules are the biggest impact you can have on your yield of Ore and Ice from mining. With that in mind, here’s the full rundown of all of the most important modules for mining in EVE,

Module Name Description
High Power Modules:
Mining Lasers These are the basic Mining Modules used for Mining Ore from Asteroids; they require a free turret slot and have a 60-second cycle time. Following types of Mining Lasers are available for fitting: Miner I, EP-S Gaussian Scoped Mining Laser, Particle Bore Compact Mining Laser, Miner II, Single Diode Basic Mining Laser, ORE Miner, Gallente Mining Laser
Strip Miners Modules used for Strip Mining Ore, they can be fitted into Exhumers and Mining Barges; they have a 180-second cycle time and provide much better yield per minute than Mining Lasers, but are a lot more expensive. Following types of Strip Miners are available for fitting: Strip Miner I, Modulated Strip Miner II, Modulated Deep Core Strip Miner II, ORE Strip Miner
Deep Core Miners Mining Lasers designed for mining Mercoxit; their cycle time is dependant on the Laser Model. Following types of Deep Core Miners are available for fitting: Deep Core Mining Laser I (60s cycle time), Modulated Deep Core Miner II (180s cycle time), ORE Deep Core Mining Laser (60s cycle time)
Ice Mining Lasers Modules used for harvesting Ice, they can be fitted into Prospect and Endurance class vessels; they have very long cycle times (330-360 seconds) and offer 1000 cubic meters yield per cycle. Following types of Ice Mining Lasers are available for fitting: Ice Mining Laser I, Ice Mining Laser II, ORE Ice Mining Laser
Ice Miners Modules used for harvesting Ice, that can be fitted into Exhumers and Mining Barges; they have the same yield per cycle as Ice Mining Lasers, but their cycles are considerably shorter (200-240s). Following types of Ice Miners are available for fitting: Ice Harvester I. Ice Harvester II, ORE Ice Harvester
Gas Cloud Harvesters Modules used for vacuuming Gas Clouds; they require a free turret slot, and maximum number of Harvesters that can be fit into your ship depends on your Gas Cloud Harvesting Skill (see our skills table for a reference). Following types of Gas Cloud Harvesters are available for fitting: Gas Cloud Harvester I, “Crop” Gas Cloud Harvester, “Plow” Gas Cloud Harvester, Gas Cloud Harvester II, Syndicate Gas Cloud Harvester
Mining Crystals
Be on the lookout for Modulated mining modules, these can be loaded with Mining Crystals. These Crystals are limited-use ammo that allow the user to increase the efficiency of mining specific Ores. Don’t try to use them on any other Ore types beyond the one their named for, as it won’t increase your yield. Tech 2 Crystals have slightly higher yields, but higher skill requirements.

For the maximum Mining Efficiency, multiple kinds of Mining Crystals should be carried and swapped when a specific type of Ore is encountered.

Medium Power Modules:
Survey Scanners These modules allow players to scan down the asteroids and Ice within range of the current vessel. This allows players to target the most valuable Ore varieties.

The following types of Survey Scanners are available for fitting: Survey Scanner I, ML-3 Scoped Survey Scanner, Survey Scanner II

Survey Scanners only cycle once, offering a single report on the Ore types in range

Low Power Modules:
Mining Laser Upgrades These modules boost your Ore yield per minute but also increase the amount of CPU used by the main Mining Modules mounted on your ship. Following types of Mining Laser Upgrades are available for fitting: Mining Laser Upgrade I, Elara Restrained Mining Laser Upgrade, Mining Laser Upgrade II, “Carpo” Mining Laser Upgrade, “Aoede” Mining Laser Upgrade
Ice Harvester Upgrades These modules are very similar to Mining Laser Upgrades, but they increase the yield of your Ice Harvester Modules. These also confer a downsie with CPU usage penalties. Following types of Ice Harvester Modules are available for fitting: Ice Harvester Upgrade I, Frigoris Restrained Ice Harvester Upgrade, Ice Harvester Upgrade II, “Anguis” Ice Harvester Upgrade, “Ingenii” Ice Harvester Upgrade
Rig Upgrades:
Ice Harvester Accelerator These Rigs decrease the cycle time of your Ice Harvesters, which in turn increases your Ice yield per minute. These will fit Exhumers and Mining Barges only.
Mercoxit Mining Crystal Optimization These Rigs increase your Mercoxit Mining efficiency, providing you with a 16% higher yield. These will fit Exhumers and Mining Barges only.
Drone Mining Augmentor These Rigs improve your Mining Drones, by increasing their yield (Tech I by 10%, Tech II by 15%), but at a cost of reducing your vessel’s available CPU capacity by 10%. The severe computing penalty and small overall yield of Mining Drones make these Rigs not worth using.
Drones:
Ore Mining Drones Mining Drones are semi-automated mining tools that will mine a chunk of Ore and deliver it right to your cargo hold every 60 seconds. The following types of Ore Mining Drones are available for fitting: Civilian Mining Drone, Mining Drone I, Mining Drone II, “Augmented” Mining Drone, Harvester Mining Drone, “Excavator” Mining Drone

Mining Drones are most effective when paired with large-scale clearing operations using multiple Capital-class ships.

Ice Harvesting Drones These drones are specialized in gathering Ice from Ice Belts; they operate similarly to the Ore Mining Drones but are only capable of harvesting one unit of the target Ice type per 220 second cycle. The following types of Ice Harvesting Drones are available for fitting: Ice Harvesting Drone I, Ice Harvesting Drone II, “Augmented” Ice Harvesting Drone, “Excavator” Ice Harvesting Drone
Combat Drones These Drones are specialized in damaging and destroying enemy ships. Mining vessels employ them mainly for defensive purposes, in order to compensate for the lackluster firepower. If you plan to mine resources in dangerous areas it would be a good idea to invest in those. Combat Drones come in the following variants: Light, Medium and Heavy Combat Drones, Stationary Sentry Drones, Electronic Warfare and Combat Utility Drones (used to impair enemy vessels), and Logistics Drones specialized in repair and maintenance work.

Ships

Mining ships in EVE have gone through a lot of iterations over the years. In previous years players even mined Ore in battleships, now the game features a bevy of dedicated mining ships in various classes. The smallest are simple Frigates meant for small-scale individual mining runs, with the largest Capital-class Industrial ships being able to mine huge quantities of Ore within a player fleet.

We’ll also publish a guide that runs through all of the strengths and weaknesses of mining ships in EVE Online, be on the lookout for that.

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