So, had a couple of people asking about mining in Elite Dangerous, so I figured I’d make a quick introduction and create a place to answer questions.
First things first- ships. For me, there are few finer ships than the Imperial Clipper for use as a miner- large cargo capacity for carrying large amounts of cargo and limpets, multiple internal modules for refinery, propector, and collector controllers, high speed and maneuverability for quickly and efficiently moving from rock to rock, and strong shields and multiple hardpoints to defend herself with.
First things first: loadout and outfitting. I could run two medium mining lasers instead of the single one, but I like having options when it comes to defending myself (even I get interdicted sometimes). Besides, one medium mining laser still strips rocks fast enough to keep the collector limpets busy, AND has the advantage of not completely draining the power capacitor while firing.
Next up: internal layout. At the minimum, you’re going to need the following:
A Refinery (turns chunks of rock into materials that are then converted into cargo cannisters).
Cargo Racks (gotta have somewhere to store the shinies after your refinery does the converting).
Optional, but pretty much mandatory:
Collector Limpet Controller (lets you use little disposable drones to collect the rocks and fly them into your cargo hatch. Otherwise, you have to do it manually- a very, VERY slow, tedious, dangerous process).
Prospector Limpet Controller (lets you fire a limpet at an asteroid you’re looking at mining, and will tell you the composition of what the rock is made of. In addition, since at least 1.4, there’s been a well-documented buff to the amount of material you can collect from a single asteroid).
Here’s what I’m running at the moment.
This refinery gives me seven bins, meaning I can collect the six most valuable materials (Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium, Osmium, and Painite) and one more common one- usually I go with Bertrandite, since it’s the most valuable ore per ton.
The twin Collector limpet controllers each can power two limpets simultaneously for up to 12 minutes. This is important, as the longer you can control them, the less frequently you have to launch new ones.
The Prospector controller I think has a range of about 3km, but I’m usually a lot closer to an asteroid when I launch anyway (since there’s no way to lock it up and determine how far away it is using sensors).
After loadout, the next important question is where to mine. Here’s my current favorite system for mining:
The first planet in the system has a Metallic ring, meaning it’s mostly made up of the most valuable metals. And the “Pristine Reserves” status means you’ll find them in much higher quantities than anywhere else.
OK, ship is outfitted, destination is set, two more things to do before leaving the station: restocking consumables, and checking for missions.
Those fancy limpet controllers we installed a bit earlier are completely useless without anything to control, so we’ll head to the restock screen to load up on limpets for the Collector and Prospector modules. I used to load my cargo bay between 1/4 and 1/3 full, but now with a prospector module installed, I’d say you can go ahead and max out if you like. I’m loading a lot fewer for this demonstration:
Finally, check the bulletin board for mining missions before you leave the station. Often you can make over 100,000/ ton of whatever mineral or metal the mission givers are asking for. Today, not so much- probably because I’m not highly allied enough with the controlling factions in this system. Still, it’s better than nothing, and slightly above market value:
Finally we’re ready to go! Let’s go blast some rocks!
(to be continued…)