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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is hi-sec mining worth it again?

"Behold, as a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to my work." - Gurney Halleck

Like every other industrialist, I've been watching mineral prices climb with hope and trepidation. On the one hand, making a profit when commodity prices are going through the roof is tough. Customers never start paying more for anything as fast as the cost of making that "anything" rises. Commodity upswings eat into profit margins and how.

But if you're in a position to supply those commodities you're in the mint! Mining is an ages old method of doing just that. Before humans could read or write, we were mining. We did it  before we even grew our own food. Flint is a rock after all. Mining is an ancient profession and an honorable one.

Unfortunately events conspired to make hi-sec mining a waste of time. I could buy meta zero items and reprocess them into ore far more efficiently than I could mine the ore. Others bought tags and reprocessed them to minerals. Still others destroyed drones and reprocessed their alloys into minerals - the so called mining by gun. All taken together, this pretty much ruined mining in hi-sec.

Are those days over? Escalation brought drones that no longer drop alloys, rats that no longer drop meta zero modules and no one can buy an unending supply of tags to convert into nocxium. Is it a good day for miners all over New Eden - Hulkageddon not withstanding?

Today I decided to find out. What better day to do so than the start of Hulkageddon? Discovering a small gravimetric anomaly on my morning scans gave me a target. It was loaded with Kernite and Omber. Kernite would be an excellent 'roid to see if mining is once again time versus ISK profitable. Here were the conditions of my test.
  • Tank fitted Hulk (standard 8000 m3 cargo hold) with Strip Miner II turrets and T2 Kernite Mining Crystals.
  • No jet cans! Mine and return to station only.
  • No mining drones to speed up cargo hold fill.
  • Lone wolf mining (no Orca boosts or other helpers.)
  • Time limit of one hour.
I un-docked at 19:30 and began the test. Soon I was happily rocking out both auditorily and professionally. You know, mining can be one of the loveliest experiences in the entire universe.
Within 10 minutes, I had my first cargo hold full of Luminous Kernite.
I headed back to the station, refined to the hanger and launched again. In the space of just under an hour I made four runs total. At 20:29 I docked for the fourth and last time. I checked the sell price for my haul of Mexallon and Isogen.
My profit in 59 minutes actual time was 6 million ISK (there was a small amount of tritanium that put me over.)  That's not Incursion level ISK making, but I didn't have to beg into a fleet or sit around waiting for some logistic pilot to make 18 jumps. It's more ISK than I make a day with PI since the taxes went sky high. It's obviously more ISK than mining made pre-Escalation. And I was a lone wolf miner! A small fleet with some Orca boosting and a couple haulers to take the ore away and strip mining asteroid belts could be serious ISK again for hi-sec corporations. Now, if only the rumors of ring mining come true...

tl:dr - mining is once again a viable way to make hi-sec ISK in New Eden.

Fly careful.


  1. I got a chance to ask CCP Soundwave about ring mining at the London pubmeet. Unfortunately the acoustics were terrible and I couldn't really hear his answer but the gist of it is that ring mining is definitely coming and it looks like either in Inferno (due 22nd May) or the Winter patch.

    Whether ring mining means technetium will drop in high sec I don't know. I would have guessed it is aimed at nullsec.

    As for high sec mining pyrox is the current best ore to mine and the Eve Isk per Hour author calculated 37m per hour per Hulk is possible.

    I've been mining with 2 Hulks and an Orca while playing a different game on the other computer. I parked them all up a few days ago - you're a brave soul mining during Burn Jita and Hulkaggeddon.

  2. With a fully boosted orca, a transport orca and 5 perfect hulk pilots, mining pyro, veld and kern (and mining the special scordite while the others finish), it works out to about 15 misk an hour, per toon. I've tried just scooping pyro, or pyro and veld, and a number of other small tweaks to the mining scheme, but with taking into account warping, other miners' activities, etc, it's more effective and more profitable to take as much of the PVK as possible before warping. More time mining and less time moving. I don't know where a high sec miner can make 37 misk an hour, fleeted or not, but that is an extremely generous estimate, and pretty unrealistic, I think. With the mentioned setup, I can bring in a freighter load of minerals in 7 to 9 hours of gameplay (spread over multiple days) and that is worth anywhere from 1 to 1.3 bisk at current Jita prices. Mining is definitely back in the game, but it's not anywhere close to incursions or L4 missions yet. I'm going to stock pile my ore for a few weeks and see if I can double the value of the ~3.8 bisk in minerals I've got. I found a low traffic system, with 5belts, and I'll tweak the hp of the boats a little and see about doing some mining in it during ha.

  3. There are other ores that make more, I think with your setup you could push 8 mill an hour and of course doing it in groups with orcas etc could push it well over 10-15

  4. @ Pointy Sticks Here's my source:

    I don't think he's allowing for changing rocks or moving, it's isk per m3 times m3 mined for an hour and comes to just over 37m for Pyrox. That's with perfect skills and implants on both Hulk and booster.

  5. Serious non-troll question - do miners find 6mil an hour "viable"? Or perhaps, boosted up, 15mil an hour?

    You can break that ISK/hr in level 3 missions, let alone level 4s or Incursions. Then there are WH sites that net you about 90mil an hour, which will often be viable from a highsec base.

    1. "Viable" is a tricky word. To start with, it depends on your expenses. Depending on play style, no, it is not viable. However, as other's have pointed out, you can do other things while mining (except during Hulkageddon.) For instance, yesterday during my RL lunch break, I decided to check on some orders I have in the market. I noticed that someone had put up 10 rigs at 2 mIsk each in Algogille when the going price in Oursulaert was 2.5 mIsk. Of course I bought them and reposted the 10 rigs at 2.5 mIsk each! As of last night, I'd sold 7 at a 20% profit (3.5 mIsk.) You can comb the market while you mine for deals like that. You really can't while running a L4 mission. You certainly cannot while running Incursions. That's what makes it "viable" to me.

  6. 6M/hour is indeed low. 15/hour looks much better, since - except for Hulkageddon - it's semi-AFK money. You can do other activities(both RL and other account) while accumulating ISK.


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