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Mining ops are vastly more efficient than solo mining. This guide is intended to walk you through the process of leading an efficient mining op.
Every mining op needs a leader. It should be someone trustworthy, competent, and reliable. The leader's job is to oversee, plan, and coordinate each of the aspects of a mining op discussed here. For the purposes of this article, let us assume that this person is you.
You must prepare for the op by checking out the location ahead of time. Will there be enough asteroids with Arkanor, Bistot, and Crokite? Is the location safe? If a hostile gang is incoming, will it be reported before reaching your system? Is it convenient to refine and move ore around that area? Can people get their mining ships to and from the location without a problem? You must ensure that enough people will attend by posting an op thread in the war room and checking to make sure a major op is not planned at the same time. You must also facilitate the whole mining process by checking to see that there are mining crystals and other gear for sale on the local market, et ceteras. Perhaps you might assemble a small cache of mining gear to hand out to newbies who wish to attend. Good gear for such a cache might include: Miner I/IIs, Mining Drone I/IIs, Mining Laser Upgrade Is/IIs, Ospreys, Scythes, and various T1 and T2 Strip Miner crystals.
A good mining op will have as many bonuses lined up as possible, using skills, mining foremen link modules, implants, and hopefully a rorqual, all within a properly setup fleet. Below you will find details about each way to improve your gang's mining bonuses.
Mining Foreman (skill) - Assuming you have your fleet bonuses set up properly (with sufficient Leadership and Wing Commander skills), each member of the fleet enjoys a 2% yield bonus per level. So if the Fleet Commander had Mining Foremand V, every miner in the gang would enjoy a 10% bonus to his ore yielded. This yield bonus is to the m3 of ore returned, rounding down with any fractional m3 less than the size of the ore you are mining (usually 16 m3), so it may not return exactly the listed bonus amount.
Mining Foreman Link - Laser Optimization (module) and Mining Director (skill) - The former is the only useful mining-related Warfare Link, and gives a 2% bonus to mining module cycle time per rank in Mining Director.
Mining Foreman Mindlink (implant) - If your miners are really lucky, you will have one of these. Using this implant requires you to train Mining Director V, and grants a 50% increase to the bonus granted by Mining foreman warfare links and increases your mining foreman bonus to a 15% yield bonus.
Warfare Link Specialist (skill) - This skill increases the effectiveness of all warfare links by 10% per level of the skill trained. This includes the bonuses from mining foreman warfare links.
Rorqual (ship) - Grants a 5% bonus to mining foreman warfare link bonuses, per level of Capital Industrial while in deployed mode. It can also run all three mining foreman warfare link modules simultaneously. It can also reduce the need for haulers on by using its capital tractor beams to pull in and store cans in its capacious cargo bay. It can also run an Industrial Core (module) in order to compress ore, although this is often eschewed by station-controlling 0.0 alliances because of the fuel cost involved with running that module.
Other Stuff - The less common mining-related warfare links are the Harvester Capacitor Efficiency (less capacitor usage for mining equipment) and Mining Laser Field Enhancement (farther mining laser range). These are both great if you have someone who can fly command ships and have a billion warfare link slots, but for a carrier or battlecruiser that may only be able to use a single warfare link, the Laser Optimization module is clearly the best option.
Ideally you want a battleship that can 'permatank' - turn on all tanking mods, leave them running, and handle the NPC damage forever. A Dominix or other turret-based ship is ideal for this because it can also mine a bit while tanking, provided that the tank is careful to not lose NPC aggro by warping to a new rock or flying faster than the rats can keep up. Lacking mining upgrades due to the tank, a mining BS will likely produce slightly more ore than a cruiser. For larger ops, a second tank can greatly improve productivity by staying one belt ahead of the op and ensuring that there is no downtime when switching belts.
The vast majority of newbies will be able to fly their racial cruiser in time for any mining op. The Amarr race has no mining cruiser, and so many newbies prefer the Tormentor frigate, although the Maller yields ever so slightly more ore. In all likelihood, most newbies will be flying Ospreys, older PvP players will be in Battleships, and older PvE players will be in mining barges.
|Common Mining Ships||Race / Class||Avg m3 / Minute||Avg Units / Minute||Avg Units / Hour|
|Tormentor||Amarr Frigate||166 / Minute||10 / Minute||600 / Hour|
|Maller||Amarr Cruiser||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Scythe||Minmatar Cruiser||264 / Minute||16 / Minute||960 / Hour|
|Vexor||Gallente Cruiser||294 / Minute||18 / Minute||1080 / Hour|
|Osprey||Caldari Cruiser||311 / Minute||19 / Minute||1140 / Hour|
|Common Mining Battleships||Race / Class||Avg m3 / Minute||Avg Units / Minute||Avg Units / Hour|
|Armageddon||Amarr Battleship||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Apocalypse||Amarr Battleship||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Tempest||Minmatar Battleship||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Maelstrom||Minmatar Battleship||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Dominix||Gallente Battleship||? / Minute||? / Minute||? / Hour|
|Megathron||Gallente Battleship||560 / Minute||35 / Minute||2100 / Hour|
|Rokh||Caldari Battleship||640 / Minute||40 / Minute||2400 / Hour|
|Mining Barges||Race / Class||Avg m3 / Minute||Avg Units / Minute||Avg Units / Hour|
|Retriever||ORE Mining Barge||744 / Minute||46 / Minute||2760 / Hour|
|Covetor||ORE Mining Barge||1163 / Minute||72 / Minute||4320 / Hour|
|Hulk||ORE Mining Barge||1542 / Minute||96 / Minute||5760 / Hour|
This table contains the average amounts mined by the most commonly-used mining ships. The assumptions made for this table are:
- No gang bonuses were applied.
- The op is mining Arkonor, Bistot, or Crokite, all of which are 16 m3 per unit of unrefined/uncompressed ore.
- For Frigates and Cruisers: Racial frigate or cruiser IV trained, Mining III trained, using Miner I modules and Mining Drone I drones.
- For Battleships: Mining IV and Astrogeology III trained, using Miner II modules.
- Retriever: Mining Barge IV trained, and Strip Miner I modules are used.
- Coveter: Mining Barge V trained, ands Strip Miner I modules are used.
- Hulk: Exhumers IV trained, Modulated Strip Miner II modules with T2 Crystals are used.
A good ratio of haulers to miners must be maintained so that an overabundance of unhauled ore does not accumulate in jetcans. A good baseline hauler is a Mammoth with T2/named cargo expanders, and hopefully cargohold optimization rigs. Haulers should have their racial industrial skill trained to at least IV. Many haulers use Tractor Beams to bring full jetcans closer to them, rather than slowboating to them and knocking miners all over the place.
|Common Hauling Ships||Race / Class|| Cargo Capacity|
(with Industrial III, Expanded Cargohold II)
| Cargo Capacity|
(with Industrial IV, Expanded Cargohold II)
| Cargo Capacity|
(with Industrial IV plus rigs,Expanded Cargohold II)
|Sigil||Amarr Industrial||11,624 m3||12,130 m3||18,448 m3|
|Bestower||Amarr Industrial||14,587 m3||15,222 m3||23,150 m3|
|Badger||Caldari Industrial||7,712 m3||8,047 m3||12,238 m3|
|Badger Mark II||Caldari Industrial||12,514 m3||13,058 m3||19,859 m3|
|Iteron||Gallente Industrial||5,608 m3||5,852 m3||8,901 m3|
|Iteron Mark II||Gallente Industrial||7,011 m3||7,315 m3||11,126 m3|
|Iteron Mark III||Gallente Industrial||11,620 m3||12,125 m3||18,441 m3|
|Iteron Mark IV||Gallente Industrial||N/A||13,058 m3||19,859 m3|
|Wreathe||Minmatar Industrial||6,169 m3||6,437 m3||9,791 m3|
|Hoarder||Minmatar Industrial||12,156 m3||12,685 m3||19,292 m3|
|Mammoth||Minmatar Industrial||N/A||17,838 m3||27,129 m3|
| Iteron V|
(Requires Industrial V)
|Race / Class|| Cargo Capacity|
(x5 Expanded Cargohold II)
| Cargo Capacity|
(x5 EC II, x3 Cargohold Optimization Rigs)
| Cargo Capacity|
(x3 EC IIs, x3 CO Rig, 12 GSCs)
|Iteron Mark V||Gallente Industrial||25,270 m3||38,433 m3||49,237 m3|
|Capital Ships||Race / Class|| Cargo Capacity|
| Cargo Capacity|
(x3 EC IIs, x3 Cargohold Optimization Rigs)
| Cargo Capacity|
(x3 EC IIs, x1 CO Rig, x2 CO II Rigs)
|Rorqual||ORE Capital Industrial||40,000 m3||126,091 m3||137,294 m3|
Division of Proceeds
List of mining apps, links to them. Spreadsheets? Methods (shares, whatever). Corp charity ops? Pro-newbie methods, equal share methods, fair split methods. How much should haulers and tanks get? Can the person running it take a cut? What to do for people that want their minerals up-front. Some ops it may be better to just hand out minerals and leave people to their own devices with them.
Many goons will use their refining skills on behalf of an op, for free. Getting the ore to the station? What type of station is best for this? NPC stations (like JLO) give the best refine rates. Sometimes the corp will set a tax rate to zero if you ask Darius on a good day. See the list of refiners at List of Refiners for (possibly outdated) options. What else?
Selling of Proceeds
The best price for zydrine and megacyte will be obtained in empire, usually Jita. Care must be taken when transporting large amounts of valuable minerals, even in empire. Ideally, any empire hauling should be conducted with a neutral alt, in highsec, in a well-fit blockade runner.
If you can't transport it securely, you might be better off cutting some kind of deal with the corp or a local industrialist. You'll get a worse price, but it is better than nothing. Definitely don't make it a no-bid sell, though --if people compete over the price you will get better results.
- Hulks are slow to move around, and tremendously valuable when their lasers are running. Thus, do anything you can to keep their lasers running.
- If you are making money, mine a/b/c (arkanor, bistot, and crokite) rocks only. If you are building ships locally, you might choose to strip belts entirely, but in general low-end minerals are worth so much less than the highends that you would rather mine a/b/c ores and pay somebody to import the low-ends.
- Designate certain rocks to be hulks first - e.g. hulks on arkanor, others on bistot. This is because hulks have to load mining crystals for a given type of rock, so if they load arkanor crystals they will be only good at mining that particular ore. They can't switch crystals easily like a regular laser.
- Jet cans only last two hours before disappearing. Any cans intended to contain ore should be named the time that they were created. When the can is full or when the supply of ore in that belt is exhausted, rename them to "10:34 haul me", with the time being its creation time.
- Have cruisers get near rocks to give hulks warp-in points for particular rocks. Hulks can't adjust their positions as quickly as a cruiser can.
- Haulers can hold up to 30% more if they fill their cargo hold with giant secure containers, though this will slow down their loading/unloading a bit.
- For larger ops, set up a warp-in can 200+ km away from everything. This lets haulers have somewhere to warp if they are not sure which can to haul, or if they need to bounce between cans; it can also help miners move between clusters of rocks when one area gets finished off. To do this, warp from the hauling destination (station or pos) to the belt at 100km, make a bookmark, warp back to the hauling destination, warp back to the bookmark at 100km, then repeat one more time if you are still close to rocks. Bookmark your new far-out location, make a copy or two by shift-dragging it from people & places to your cargo hold, then jettison the copy and name the can.
- If you have enough miners to mine out the belt you are currently in, try to get two tanks so that you can set up the next belt in advance. If you can't get a second tank, at least have somebody scout out the next belt to check for lots of rocks and an npc spawn before finishing hauling out the current belt. The goal here is to switch belts with the hulks sitting around as little as possible. If there are many miners and few high-end rocks, you might even find a use for three tanks. You can get by with one tank, but the 15+ minutes that it takes you to finish the current belt and move to the next is 15 minutes your hulks aren't melting rocks, and time lost is wasted isk.
- Always finish hauling out the first belt you were in before moving the tank out of it. You don't want rats to spawn on and pop your haulers.
- People can only jet a can every two minutes. Thus, they need to re-use the same can for a while, so make sure haulers don't tractor or pop new cans by leaving a unit of ammo in the can (a completely empty can disappears).
- Make sure you and other people are checking local constantly. Especially make sure to be monitoring the 'GSIntel' channel for incoming hostiles. If you are not familiar with the local astrography, keep a map handy so you can gauge how close hostiles are.
- Be sure that your miners aren't too close to the asteroids or each other. If they are too close, they may get bounced around or stuck on them, should they need to warp out in a hurry.
- If there is a hostile entering the system, tell everyone to get the fuck out and into combat ships or idle at a POS. Make sure they know in advance where to go in case of hostiles. It is generally a good idea to evacuate a belt if even one hostile ship shows up, as he may have friends behind him. Gang warps are usually bad, but if you have a pos to hide at then this is one situation where they can be lifesavers - any squad or wing leader should gang warp to the pos so that anybody who is away from their computer between cycles will be safe.