This post is why it’s important to stay in school and a good example of “when we I ever us this.” This post, as a whole, is to record my effort to dig through the nuts and bolts of mining yield and judge how useful I should expect the optimizations to be in a cost/benefit kind of way. It’s, uh, probably not going to be the most exciting or interesting post, to say the least. All these numbers are based on the specific and current skill levels of the pilots in question. Your mileage (meterage?) may vary.
We’ll start with assumptions, because there are several of those.
- I am using a Covetor with a Mining Barge skill level of 4.
- It has two Modulated Strip Miner 2s, running Plagioclase Mining Crystal 1s.
- It also has three Mining Laser Upgrade 2s.
- My yield per cycle is roughly 4227 units of Plagioclase.
- All math was done using current market prices of Tritanium, Pyerite, and Mexallon refined from Plagioclase at “perfect”, which is better than what I’m currently getting. Current processing yield is more like 67.06%
- My brother is using a Porpoise.
- He is collecting and transporting my ore back to station so that I can remain in the field.
- He is using a Mining Foreman Burst with cycle reduction.
- This puts my cycle per laser just a hair above 100 sec.
- I’m using five Mining Drone 1s.
- They cycle roughly once every 2 minutes.
- Yield per drone, per cycle, is 78 units of Plagioclase.
So, that’s 7600 units of Plagioclase every 100 seconds. The drones provide an additional 390 in about that time, really depends on how far they have to travel. There are a lot of things I’m not controlling for here as well.
Asteroids deplete and go away, so there’s a constant game of targeting new asteroids when the old ones burn out. If you’re not micromanaging your laser cycles, you can also waste time this way. Mining laser has same cycle time regardless, but if the asteroid only has 138 units and you let it run the whole cycle you still only get 138 units when you could have got 3800. The Covetor has the capacitor to short-cycle lasers without any problems, so there’s no good reason not to. Leaving a bunch of tiny ‘roids floating around isn’t really my thing. Turn ’em and burn ’em.
I also cannot operate solo with this setup. Two laser cycles plus drones is enough to fill ore hold to capacity. This takes a little longer, 240 seconds vs 200, but that’s still back and forth to a storage site every four minutes. There are ways to set this up, with mobile depots and the like, but that is beyond the scope of my current effort.
So, the immediately obvious steps to improve yield are:
- Use Plagioclase Mining Crystal 2s – Between time of writing and time of publication this has already been implemented.
This is the most quick and dirty option I have. If I buy these well in advance, it will cost roughly 100K per hour, because I cannot manufacture them myself the way I can the 1s. It should provide an additional 325 units per laser per cycle. Tier 2 crystals should last around 200 cycles, which is around 65,000 units more. Current market prices put that around 3.4M refined value, for a net profit of around 2.1M/crystal. Just under 1.2M/hour running them on both lasers.
- Use Mining Drone 2s
These guys cost around 1M each, but don’t wear out like the crystals do. I don’t have the skill level to use them yet. It would take around 9D 19H to train into it. That would provide an additional boost to their yield, most likely taking me from 78 units/drone cycle to 118/cycle. They also travel a little faster, so it would cut cycle time slightly. Gain is right around 125/cycle at 2 minutes each. About 187K/hour. This could be improved, but given the time to get to it, it’s not a high priority at the moment. I will probably put this skill in the queue behind Mining Barge 5, Exhumers 1-3, and Plagioclase Processing 5.
- Use Drone Mining Rigs
Tier two rigs are around 25M each, tier one rigs are 2M. Specifically, the mining drone augment rigs. They also have a stacking penalty, so three tier one rigs at around 10% each works out to 24.4% total yield increase. Current drones and skills would leave this at around 97 units/cycle, so less effective than the drone upgrade above. 141K/hour. Compounded with the drone upgrade, though, it’s about 187K/hour, so the drone upgrade again. I would also have to train a variety of skills to even attempt this fit, so not really a high priority.
- Skill Implants
Okay, I had to make a spreadsheet to do the math involved and even that is currently limited. An MX-1005 implant increases yield by 5% and costs around 160M. That yield boost adds up to about 409K/hour. It would take about 391 hours of mining for it to even pay for itself. Despite being the second best gain, that’s just not worth it. An MX-1003 is 3% and 20M. 242.5K/hour, 82 hour payoff. Still not sure about that, but it’s a much better value. I might be better served by an MU-1005 to ease the fitting requirements of upgrades and rigs. I may also eventually get an RX-804 reprocessing implant, but all of these high grade implants are so absurdly expensive that none of them are even on the table right now.
I think that’s enough spreadsheets and math right now. It’s all very min/max. The single largest increase in yield I’m going to get this point is moving from a Covetor to a Hulk. That’s still about a week and a half away, and I simply couldn’t afford to buy the ship and insure it. That ship will not be undocked without the highest level of insurance on it. Even then that only covers about a third the cost of the ship. Despite being the least tanky mining ship(s) they aren’t targetted that much outside of low and nul-sec, and if I intend to go there I’ll probably purchase and fit a Procurer/Skiff instead.
Y’all take care, and remember to eat your Wheaties or whatnot before doing heavy lifting, physical or otherwise.