In Eve Online there are three forms of mining, the others being ice harvesting and gas harvesting and while they overlap to a degree they each have their specialties. In this guide, I focus on ore mining which is the type of mining that most players start out with so this can be considered as a beginner guide to Eve Online mining.
To be able to mine at the very beginning of the game you need access to a ship and a Miner I module. You can use your starting ship or any frigate you are currently flying but you need to train the skill Mining to level I before you can use the Miner I module.
When everything is ready you can fit the Miner I module to your ship through the fitting screen, undock and fly to an asteroid belt in your current system. Once there you need to target an asteroid, fly within 10 km and then press the Miner I icon on your HUD. You are now mining ore if everything was done correctly and should see it appear after a minute in your cargo hold or ore hold if you have it on your ship.
If you intend to do some more mining you should next upgrade your ship.
Getting Your First Ore Mining Ship
The first ship you should buy for your newfound mining career is the Venture. The Venture is a specialized mining ship made by the ORE corporation in Eve Online. It’s not expensive compared to other frigate class ships and will vastly improve your mining yield, both ore yield, and gas cloud harvesting yield. The Venture has the following traits;
To be able to fly the Venture you need to have the Mining Frigate skill and Spaceship Command skill trained to level I. If you don’t have it already in your skills section you can buy the skill books necessary from the market and inject to start training the skill. To be able to fly the Venture you only need to have the skill trained to level I. When that is trained you can fly to the next station that sells a Venture and buy it.
The Venture has three high slots of which two of those can fit a turret. This means that a Venture can fit and use two mining lasers at once. Given the role bonus of the Venture and the fact that you can use two mining lasers, you should have doubled or quadrupled your ore mining yield.
The next step is to train the Mining skill to level IV. At Mining IV you will be able to use the Miner II module instead of the Miner I. This alone will increase your ore yield by 50% in addition to the extra 15% you got from training Mining from I to IV. So, when you have the ISK you should go and buy yourself a couple of Miner II modules and get them equipped.
At this point is probably suitable to mention all the non-ship specific skills that come in handy while mining. Both those that increase your yield and the ones that increase your ability to fit better modules and your survival chances.
Skills for an Ore Mining Career
At this point is probably suitable to mention some of the skills that are useful for a mining career. Both the skills that directly increase your yield and the ones that increase your ability to fit better modules and your survival chances. Those skills are:
The first three skills are the skills that will improve your ore yield. The next four skills are the skills that will allow you to fit better modules to your ships and the last four will increase your survival ability. Those later skills are useful for almost any career in Eve Online so you should train those whenever you have the training time to spare. And remember that the Mining Frigate skill will also improve your yields while flying a Venture.
There is also a module that will increase your yields called Mining Laser Upgrade I. To be able to fit that module you need to train the Mining Upgrades skill to level I and to level IV to be able to use the Tech 2 version of that module. The module increases your ore yield while at the same time reduces your overall CPU.
Is Mining Really for Me?
Now you can mine ore in your Venture while slowly getting more skillful and stockpile some ISK. What you need to do after getting a decent amount of ISK is to decide if mining is the thing for you or if you want to try your hand at something different. There are so many things in Eve Online to do that are both fun and rewarding and you should take some time to try them out.
At this point, I want to briefly mention refining. You can sell your ore directly at the marker, but it is often better to refine it and sell the minerals you get from the refined ore. There are two skills that are most important to refining. There are Reprocessing and Reprocessing Efficiency. If you intend to refine and sell the minerals you need to get both these skills to level 5. There are also other ways to increase refining which are beyond the scope of this guide.
The Mining Barges
When (and if) you decide to further your mining career the next step is to move into a Mining Barge. To do so you need to have Mining at level IV, Science at level IV, Astrogeology at level III, Mining Frigate at level III and most annoyingly Industry at level V which takes a few days and does nothing for mining. After training these skills and getting enough ISK, you can buy the Mining Barge skill and train it to level I.
You then need to decide if you want to use a Procurer, a Retriever or a Covetor. Each barge has its pros and cons. The Procurer has great tank-ability for a barge but lacks slightly in yield and the size of the ore hold. The Retriever can be tanked to some degree, but its greatest strength is in the size of its ore hold making the Retriever somewhat ideal for solo mining. The Covetor is paper-thin, with a small ore hold, but by far the greatest ore yield, making it ideal for “safe” fleet mining operations.
Of these, I would go for the Procurer for high-sec mining and the Covetor if mining in null-sec with a fleet. From my perspective, the Retriever’s role is mostly for solo high-sec ice harvesting, but even then I would personally use the Procurer instead. Below are the traits for each barge.
You can see that all the barges get better yields when the mining barge skill is increased. Training the Mining Barge Skill to level 4 is, therefore, a smart thing to do when you have gotten your hands on a barge. But the most important thing about a barge is the strip miners and mining crystals.
What makes barges so effective at mining is their ability to use strip miners. Strip miners come in a tech 1 and tech 2 variety. You have the Strip Miner I module and then the Modulated Strip Miner II. The skill requirements for strip miners are only Mining IV which you should already have at this point. For the Modulated Strip Miner, you need Mining V, which is something you should train anyway at this point. Now the goal here is to be able to use a modulated strip miner II with Tech 2 mining crystals as that will maximize your ore yield. To do so you need to get the ore specific Processing to level IV (for example Veldspar Processing IV). This is a skill-intensive pursuit but it is rewarding as it gives you excellent refining skills along the way. To get any ore processing skill you first need to complete the following skills:
- Reprocessing IV
- Reprocessing Efficiency V
- Metallurgy IV
- Science IV (you should already have this)
When you have those skills you can start training the ore specific reprocessing skill. You need it at level III for the tech 1 crystals and at level IV for the tech 2 crystals. When ready, you can fit a Modulated Strip Miner II to your barge and place your crystals in the ammo slot. There are however two things you must keep in mind. First, a Modulated Strip Miner II without crystals is worse than a Strip Miner I and second, you need to mine the same ore as the type of crystal used, otherwise you will get a low yield.
Being in a barge also gives you access to mining drones. Granted, you can use those drones in a Venture but at that point, your drone capacity is better spent on combat drones to drive of the belt rats. On the other hand, a barge has room in the drone hold for both combat drones and mining drones.
The drones that you should look at are called Mining Drone I and Mining Drone II. To be able to operate drones you need to have the skill Drones to at least level I with each level allowing you to control another drone. To operate mining drones, you need the skill Mining Drone to at least level I with each level giving a 5% increase to the drones mining yield.
The Tech 2 version of the mining drone has a 32% higher base yield but they require the skill Mining Drone Operation to be at level 5 and you need the first level of Mining Drone Specialization. There are also a few faction mining drones with better stats, but the cost of those when this guide is written is exorbitantly high. An example is the Harvester mining drone which has a base ore yield of 42 m3 as opposed to 33 m3 for the Mining Drone II, but it has a price range in the 100’s of millions. There might be some scenarios that justify using such drones, but on a general basis, they are just too expensive.
Rigs are a piece of equipment that when fitted on your ship, boosts some parameters while penalizing others. There are a couple of rigs that can increase the ore yield of your mining ship. These rigs can increase the total ore yield by 10% each (15% for T2) so there is room to enhance the ore yield considerably. However, you need to consider if the extra yield is worth the reduction in effective hit points of your ship. For high sec mining, I would recommend using shield rigs. If you are however a part of a null-sec mining corporation, then using the mining rigs makes absolute sense.
Moving Into Exhumers
The last tier of mining vessels is the exhumers. They are the ultimate miners maximizing the abilities of the mining barges. Training for an exhumer is, however, yet another time-intensive activity and should only be done if you intend to become a professional miner.
To be able to fly an exhumer you need the exhumer skill at level I. To be able to train that skill you need to take Spaceship Command to level IV, Astrogeology to level V and finally, Mining Barges to level V. This will take a few weeks of skill training to accomplish. Below are the traits for each exhumer.
As you can see the added bonus you get from upgrading from a barge to an exhumer is not that great for the total yield. However, the exhumers can be fitted with better modules and in the case of the Skiff, it can be fitted to tank null sec rats and be a really hard nut to crack for high sec gankers. And as with the mining barges, I would personally only use the Skiff or Hulk depending on the mining scenario.
Fitting a Mining Barge
Here are a couple of fits that you can use in high sec. They are a mixture of yield and tank-ability, making you less of a sitting duck for any ganker. This is probably not the best fitting available, but it is a good place to start.
Your skills, modules, and ships are not the only things that will increase your ore yield. Certain cybernetic mining implants are available on the market that will increase the ore yield by up to 5%. These mining implants can be fitted into implant slots 7 and 9 and are:
- Slot 7: Michi excavation Augmentor which gives a 5% bonus to yield (EXPENSIVE).
- Slot 9: Inherent Implants ‘Highwall’ Mining which gives up to 5% bonus to yield. (three versions)
Other implants are also available that can help for CPU fitting troubles, refining yields and so forth.