|Suggested Upgrades||Cargo Racks|
Mining in Elite Dangerous is a very manual process; the player must use a mining laser to chip off pieces of an asteroid, which are then scooped up or collected with a drone to be refined on-board. As time consuming as it can be, a miner with the right technique can make just as much money as they would in other professions.
To mine, the player must have a ship equipped with a Mining Laser and a Refinery. Cargo Racks are important to store the refined minerals and metals. Drones are recommended to improve efficiency. A detailed guide of the process can be found below.
It is recommended that players obtain system data from the Universal Cartographics in order to determine what asteroids are mineral rich and as close to "pristine" as possible which will ensure that the player gets the most 'bang for their buck'.
Some people prefer small, nimble ships for mining, as they are better able to maneuver around asteroids, in tight asteroid belts and rings at higher velocities. However others prefer the larger classes of ships such as the Python, Imperial Clipper, Federal Corvette, Imperial Cutter and the Anaconda, which while they are not as maneuverable, they can equip all the beneficial limpet drone controllers and carry a large number of drones for their use, while still having room for cargo and shields, increasing efficiency. Additionally, the larger classes of ships are better able to defend themselves from pirates while mining without sacrificing as much cargo capacity as smaller ships. The downside to using the larger ships mainly comes from their generally slower velocities and slower maneuvering.
- A great choice for starting miners is the Cobra MkIII, due to the size of its cargo hold, internal compartments, and its maneuverability. It can also fit the Class 2 mining laser.
- Mining Laser
- Required to extract the ore fragments from an asteroid.
- Higher quality lasers may extract ore fragments faster.
- Multiple lasers may also be equipped, but will draw more power in total.
- Required to process the collected ore.
- Some refineries have multiple bins to process several types of ore simultaneously.
- Collector Drone
- Automated collection massively improves profit per hour by collecting fragments automatically.
- These require limpets to work (Purchase limpets at any munitions store)
- Prospector Drone
- Prospecting allows miners to view the mineral content of an asteroid even from a distance.
- Prospecting asteroids before mining results in double yield.
- These require limpets to work (Purchase limpets at any munitions store)
Mining is currently possible at asteroid belts or planetary rings (including icy as of 2.1/1.6), although it is the most profitable in a Pristine Metallic area. They can be targeted and flown to in supercruise, just like any destination within a system. Marked extraction sites can only be seen at ranges of 1kls or closer. Asteroids in planetary rings can also be mined from - RES are common places for NPC miners to congregate in, but pirates will also spawn here.
Mining is not limited to extraction sites, which is much safer since there is virtually no NPCs spawning outside them. Flying at any part of a ring system at less than 1Mm/s will result in a safe drop approximately 7km away from the ring. It is important, however, to identify the metallic rings before attempting this. When you have arrived, you will see a number (from a handful to many dozens) of asteroids, which you can then mine. A good starting spot for mining are systems with industrial economies.
Mining Locations change in both quality and quantity which when presented one through five, one being the highest and five being the lowest are currently;
This information can be found in the system map by targeting either the belt cluster or planet of interest. Planetary rings are labeled from inner to outer with descending letters starting from A.
Mining involves three main steps:
It is important to note that these steps will generally be happening all at the same time. Technique involves managing all three steps at once to maximize efficiency.
Make sure to bind a Mining Laser (preferably in its own firing group) just like you would do with any other weapon in game. Fly within range (being 500 m) of the asteroid and blast away with the Mining Laser. You have to hold down the trigger for a while (depending on the quality of Mining Laser you have bought) before a fragment chips off.
Select the fragment of rock as a target. They are quite small and hard to detect visually but do show up as white contacts on your radar. When selected, you get details of the contents of the fragment, e.g. Bauxite (9.7%) Coltan (21.2%). Note that the mineral name which shows up first in the HUD doesn't necessarily represent the most valuable mineral! The mineral content is how much of a ton of cargo can be extracted from the fragment. E.g. if you scoop and process three 35% Indite shards you end up with 1 ton of Indite. Fragments range in mineral content from ~5% to ~65%. Asteroids contain 1 to 3 different minerals while fragments from the asteroids contain up to 2 of those minerals.
Collecting fragments can be done with a cargo scoop or a collector limpet drone.
To collect with a cargo scoop, first engage your scoop (just like you would with your landing gear or hardpoints), then fly slowly towards the target. Upon engaging the Cargo Scoop you will find that a blue box will have appeared on the lower left of you HUD. On there you should, if pointing at the rock, see an icon in the cross-hairs (the box). Continue to fly slowly towards the rock while holding the rock in the middle of the cargo scoop's cross-hairs until you have successfully acquired it.
Asteroid fragments are more difficult to scoop than regular cargo, as their movement is more complex (not to mention the fact that you want to avoid hitting an asteroid while you're focused on scooping!) For this reason, it's advisable to use very slow speeds of 15 m/s while scooping. Furthermore, fragments will "decay" over time, meaning they slowly lose integrity until they disappear, so do not mine more than you can collect!
To collect with a collector limpet controller you must purchase limpets ahead of time in any munitions store (the place you buy your ammo). Collector limpets have 2 modes: quick single-collection and autonomous area-collection. For mining, the area-collection mode is optimal. Limpets must bound to a fire group like a weapon.
To activate a limpet in area mode, be sure that no cargo or fragment is targeted. This is important as activating a limpet with a collectible item targeted will activate the limpet in single-collection mode. Once in area mode, the limpet will automatically collect any fragments a specific distance from you based on the class and rating of the controller. While this happens you can continue with other actions such as fragmenting, refining, and monitoring your surroundings. Use collector drones with caution near spinning asteroids, since their basic AI doesn't account for the movement of the asteroid. You can equip multiple collector drone limpet controls assuming you have enough internal compartments.
Once a fragment enters your cargo hold, it will be deposited in the refinery. It can be accessed on the left panel of the cargo screen. The first bin is the depositing bin, where you will find your fragment. New minerals will attempt to drop into the refinery bins below. Depending on class your refinery will have between 1 and 10 of these bins.
Items that appear in the depositing bin will automatically "stack" into the refinery bins below if a refinery bin that already contains that mineral exists. It will also drop into empty bins automatically. If no bin is available, you will have to vent your refinery (see next paragraph). This will happen until the bin reaches 100% at which point it will be emptied, the leftover mineral will remain in the depositing bin, and 1 ton of cargo (one unit of whatever mineral you have collected) appears in your cargo hold. Once your cargo hold is full, you can return to a station and sell your goods.
You also have the option to "vent" the contents of your refinery. This is useful if you have a nearly-full refinery of bauxite and you find an asteroid with gold (or whatever else you prioritize). When no bin is available, minerals will not leave the depositing bin and will block it from accepting new fragments. When this happens you must either vent a refinery bin to free up space or vent the mineral from the depositing bin. NOTE: Doing this will destroy the mineral and you will not be able to recover it.
This is a very rough guide to which minerals, metals, and chemicals are most valuable to mine. These prices will be lower or higher depending on demand in the station you're selling to. It can be helpful to screenshot the nearest station's metal, mineral and chemical market prices to ensure highest profit, since varying demand of different resources can result in great variation of value.
|Minerals||Galactic Average Price per ton*||Available in Ring Type|
|Low Temperature Diamond||57445||Icy|
|Painite||40508||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Bertrandite||2374||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Methanol Monohydrate Crystals||2282||Icy|
|Indite||2088||Metallic, Metal Rich, Rocky|
|Gallite||1819||Metallic, Metal Rich, Rocky|
|Coltan||1319||Metal Rich, Rocky|
|Uraninite||836||Metal Rich, Rocky|
|Lepidolite||544||Metal Rich, Rocky|
|Metals||Galactic Average price per ton*||Available in Ring Type|
|Gold||9401||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Osmium||7591||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Praseodymium||7156||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Samarium||6330||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Silver||4775||Metallic, Metal Rich|
|Chemicals||Galactic Average price per ton*||Available in Ring Type|
*The value of these commodities can be multiplied several times their market price by accepting mining contracts posted on the mission boards of certain station economies.
The value of a mineral is scaled to the supply/demand meaning that selling minerals where there are many other players selling the same mineral will result in a smaller profit per ton as demand for that item is low with so many suppliers. Systems that are both refinery economies and have an asteroid field will tend to give you a lower price compared to what you would get if you were to travel somewhere more distant to the source (source being asteroid fields). Also, checking the bulletin board is very important, since mining mission rewards can reach hundreds of thousands of credits. The most sought-after minerals in missions are painite, osmium and platinum.
Styx is an excellent example of where we see a massive drop in prices. It has both mining equipment for sale, is very close to the spawn point for new players, have mineable asteroid fields and is a refinery economy (means it will have a constant demand for minerals to refine), it is therefore going to be very popular to sell minerals there which is going to lead to a price drop due to a saturated market.
This is a rough guide to which materials are avalable to mine.
|Materials||Available in Ring Type||Frequency|
|Carbon||Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Common|
|Chromium||Rocky, Metal Rich||Common|
|Iron||Icy, Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Common|
|Manganese||Rocky, Metal Rich||Common|
|Nickel||Icy, Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Common|
|Niobium||Metal Rich||Very Rare|
|Phosphorus||Icy, Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Common|
|Sulphur||Icy, Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Common|
|Tin||Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Rare|
|Tungsten||Metal Rich, Metallic||Very Rare|
|Vanadium||Icy, Rocky, Metal Rich, Metallic||Common|
Pirates and other miners Edit
Pirates can be a problem. They occasionally do a fly-by and scan you. They might even attack. You can prepare for this eventuality in several different ways:
- If you have brought some defensive weaponry of your own it may be possible to turn the tables on your would-be attacker, earning yourself a bounty payout in the process. Of course, rigging your ship for combat might reduce your cargo space, so you would have to travel a lot more between your mining site and the station every time your cargo hold is full.
- Jumping away into supercruise or hyperspace is also an option if you find yourself outmatched, although it might be frustrating having to abandon valuable asteroids you may have discovered. It is also important to remember that asteroid rings establish a mass-locking effect on your frame shift drive, necessitating that you clear the asteroid field to a sufficient distance before your FSD will begin charging. Asteroid belt clusters will not lock your FSD, but retain enough local mass to disrupt low-energy jumps. It is also necessary to align towards a sensible escape vector before your computer will engage the jump.
- Lastly, if you're in a system controlled by a non-anarchic faction, resource extraction sites are often patrolled by security forces mobilized to defend miners and engage any wanted ships they detect. Ensure your ship's computer is set to 'report crimes committed against me' to enable a swift security response.
- Additional tip - You can mine planetary rings anywhere, even completely outside a Resource Extraction Site (RES)- just get close in supercruise, then lower your speed to minimum before hitting the ring. Hitting the ring at this speed will cause you to drop out of supercruise at the ring with no damage although you will not have police protection (usually). Alternatively, in a RES, fly 30 or more km away from the RES marker. You will not see any NPCs spawn again unless you go closer. It does not seem to make any difference to the quality of rocks you mine.
It's kind of a dirty trick, but if you see other NPC miners out there zapping away, it's usually worth it to mine the rock they're currently working on. They seem surprisingly good-natured about you grabbing their spot, even.
- Asteroid fragments will display on the ship's radar as grey boxes.
- Use the System Map to find systems with asteroid belts or rings that have the description "Pristine Reserves" and "Metallic".
- Mining in planetary rings is more effective as there are always plenty of nearby asteroids to choose from (unlike belts).
- For maximum profit, focus on mining highly valued metals or minerals (like Painite, Platinum, Palladium or Low Temperature Diamonds).
- Use collector drones to speed up efficiency.
- Use prospector drones to double the yield of asteroid fragments.
- If the asteroid's fragments have low concentration (below ±15%), don't waste your precious time and try different one.
- Even if your cargo is full, you can still fill up the refinery to 100% per slot. When you return to a starport to sell your cargo, this frees up space and each full refinery slot will go into your cargo hold. Treat it as extra cargo space.
- Planets create massive shadows. Be sure to avoid mining in the shadow of the planet or turn up your gamma.
- The material content (Low, Medium, High) does not affect the amount of metals, minerals or chemicals that the asteroid contains.
- Added in the Beta 3 Update which went live on October 28th, 2014.
30 OCT 3300 GalNet News: Mining Special report! According to the experts at Wreaken Construction and Mining, all you need is a refinery, a mining laser and a little luck. Most rings in known space are depleted but for the individual there is still some money to be made. The Current equipment is not configured to work with ice rings and the best yields will be found on metal rings far from populated space. Our contacts at Stellar Cartographics, James Urquhart, was keen to point out that data is available in any of the mapped systems, showing both the type of ring/belt and the level of reserves. Reserves have been categorised from Depleted to Pristine and the belt composition comes under one of four types.
— In-Game Galnet News