Null Sec Mining – Starting Off on the Wrong Foot

One of the allures of 0.0 security space is all the fabulous ore you can mine out there.  The prime end of the asteroid list, Arkenor, Bistot, Crokite, and the very special Mercoxit, which requires a special exhumer, the Skiff, to mine.  All of these refine down to minerals that are quite valuable.   You can get all the tritanium you want in high sec… if you can avoid being blown up at the moment… but for more rare minerals in large quantities, you pretty much have to go to null sec.

Mere Empire rocks… not for me!

And so it was that when I packed my bags for my null sec adventure, I had three ships delivered to null sec.  There was my Crane, a blockade running for moving things around, my Tengu, in which to rat, my Noctis, to salvage rats and anomalies, and one of my Hulks, in order to harvest the bounty of the lawless regions of space.

Combat ships I have purchased out in null sec.  Our alliance has a reasonable supply, pre-fit, up as contracts for members to purchase.  But you have to supply your own supplementary ships.

The Hulk pretty much sat in the station gathering dust for the first couple of months.  There was a war on and all.  But with the end of the war, I though it might be time for it to earn its keep.

I am an old hand at mining in high sec.  I had three accounts going at one point to run my own mini ops.  That was, however, a couple of years ago.  I think the high water mark for me was back in 2009.  That was back before the first Hulkageddon.  And in the mean time, a few of the details seemed to have slipped my mind.  And, in EVE, the details are everything.

To mine with a Hulk at its most efficient, you need the tech II strip miner modules which require you to fit a crystal in each specific to the type of asteroid you are going to mine.  Like everything in EVE, you need a skill to fit strip miners, a high level of that skill to fit the tech II version, and yet another skill for any given crystal you wish to fit.

Along with the Hulk I sent out some crystals I had sitting around.  I had a few for the ABC asteroids, which I think came as mission rewards at some point, along with some for lesser asteroids, just in case.

When the first mining op came around, I got in the Hulk, put some crystals in the hold, and undocked.  I quickly found that I could not fit any of the crystals for the high value ore.  While I only had the standard versions of the crystals, not the tech II versions, the skill needed was higher than I thought.  I had the skills themselves, but only trained up to level II.

Thwarted, I skulked off to setup my training queue for mining.

Each of the level III skills required about a day.  And then there was a wait for another mining op to come around.

I had to wait for another mining op because the Hulk I brought out was fit only for maximum mining efficiency.  One of those fits that Helicity Boson would mock on a Hulkageddon kill mail.  All mining power, no tank beyond the minimum.  I had some drones in the drone bay for killing off rats, and that was fine for high sec mining.  But null sec rats are a bit beefier.  They spawn in battlecruisers and battleships as often as not.

And, of course, the items I would need to refit the Hulk for null sec work were not readily available in our region.  Combat ships? On contract, no problem.  Parts for a Hulk?  I might as well need parts for a Citroën DS.

So I held off mining until an op was going up, during which I would have some protection.

This past Sunday, Gaff was up for such an op.  At least for a short time.  We got out to a belt where somebody else was mining as well and set up shop.

As it was, there were a few of the ABC rocks left, but other people seemed to already be tapping them, and I am never sure of etiquette in that regard.  Do I mine a rock somebody else is working on or not.  So I looked through the cargo hold and found some tech II Kernite crystals.

Kernite isn’t bad.  Yes, I could find that in Amarr space.  But at least with tech II crystals I would be pulling it down at maximum efficiency.  And so I began burning down kernite asteroids.

Burning rocks in null sec

We kept it up for about 40 minutes total, before Gaff had to leave.  During that time I pulled down about 90,000 cubic meters of kernite ore.  Gaff was good enough to haul that back to the station in his Rorqual, a capital level mining ship. (Pictures of his ship here.)

He passed it over to me back in the station.  I contracted 10% of it to our industry director, a requirement of the corp.  Essentially an ore tax.  And then I was left with about 80K m3 of ore.

The station in the system we were mining does not have the ability to refine ore.  To do that I would have to take the pile of ore one jump over, to a station that had refining available.

My ship options were my Noctis, which can hold about 1.5K m3 or cargo, or my Crane, which can hold about 5K m3.  Which would mean a lot of trips.

Even after refining the ore down, the resulting minerals are still going to take up a lot of space, more than either of my potential haulers can manage in one trip.  And to send the minerals off to Jita, where they will fetch the best price, I have to get them a half a dozen jumps over to VFK in order to get them on the regular delivery route.

So actually mining in null sec… easy, once you have the skills and a properly fit Hulk.

The logistics of getting the results to market… less so.

Gaff has a jump freighter out in null sec, and will haul my rocks around.  We just have to be on at the same time, which is difficult during the week.  I am usually logging on at about the time he goes to bed.

It is enough for me to start thinking about getting a hauling alt out in null sec.  Or a mining alt.  I could make that work.

My main character was actually the hauler for my operations back in high sec.  If I could get him a better ship and train up a bit on my main mining character… he needs the skills to fit the ABC crystals… I could make this work.  And then get my alt into the corp.  And then get him out to null sec.

The devil is in the details, as always with EVE, and I have a ways to go before I become space rich on the bounty of null sec asteroids.

23 thoughts on “Null Sec Mining – Starting Off on the Wrong Foot

  1. No'mak

    I’ve been hankering for some null sec mining for a while now, but this is why I havn’t bothered so much yet with my ~2.5mil SP main character. At least there’s always more to look forward to in EVE ;)


  2. Sentack

    This.. is the sort of thing I find maddening and not very fun sounding.

    If I joined EvE today, and wanted to be more of a combat oriented player. What would I do then? I’m not sure I want to get involved in Corporation battles as well because after reading about the several hour wait we saw in the last post, that’s not the kind of ‘combat’ I’m really that interested in. Flying around and shooting NPC pirates might be more my speed initially.


  3. Ardent Defender

    While you wait to train the logistic needed ships for the needed hauling why not maybe make contracts for shipment or jump shipment to Jita. With such big an alliance surely someone if not other than your friend can move it there for you.


  4. IMine4Fun

    Logistics isn’t just about moving stuff. It’s also about knowing what to move. The tritanium, pyerite and mexallon you refine should be sold in your local nullsec market. They take up lots of room for their relatively low price, AND they usually sell for more in nullsec where they are in high demand and low supply. Check your corp and alliance for buyers at around Jita price for your other minerals and ship whatever remains to high sec.

    Ask about mining policies in your corp, but nullsec usually says no one owns an asteroid. Join in on the good stuff and work down alphabetically on the rest.

    T2 strips should only be used with crystals. T1 strips mine way more than empty T2 strips. Get a regular Iteron or Mammoth hauler to move your ore until you can fly an Orca. Also, your Hulk holds more cargo than those others if you need to move volumes in a pinch. But it’s better to ask for help from your corp.


  5. Zyref

    Why not just contract sell your minerals in nullsec at highsec prices? There are huge logistical chains to get minerals from highsec –> nullsec, including compressing the minerals using the production of capital ships and battleship components~ then refining them down once they get to null…

    Also, if you’re close to syndicate or lowsec, selling minerals there for capital ship production might be viable.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Sentack – I have heard a number of people, including some RL friends, complain about the nature of life in null sec. You do end up depending on a lot of other people for fun content. And when the other side doesn’t show up… well, you’d better like the people who are on coms, because they are your entertainment for the night.

    If you wanted to be more of a combat player, there are other choices. I linked to Jester’s article on Red vs. Blue, an organization that is two sides in high sec that are eternally at war. I think that is about as close as you can get to instant PvP action.

    But the problem with PvP in every game is that it depends on the other guy showing up.

    @IMine4Fun – Yeah, I just unloaded a pile of trit at a very nice price in null sec. There are certainly buyers.

    And if you looked back at my links, I’ve been able to fly an Orca for quite a while now. It was part of my high sec mining ops. I just have to get one out in null sec. They are expensive these days and not getting any cheaper… so I need to earn some ISK, which is why I started mining and so on and so forth.

    @NobodyInParticular – My hauling problems start a lot sooner than getting things to Jita. I can literally mine mine ore than I can haul back to the station. If Gaff hadn’t been around with his Rorq, I could have been a long time just dragging 90K m3 ore to the local station. I need something just to move stuff around. That works better with an alt hauling while you mine (my alt can fly an Itty V). But even my main can fly a Mammoth with GSC’s in it, which can get nearly a jet can’s worth of ore with my skills and full rigs.

    In the end, part of the problem is me. I tend to be happy to help other people when they ask, but I hate being the person always asking for help. Since I am hoping to haul a lot of ore over time, I need to find a solution I own.


  7. bhagpuss

    “But the problem with PvP in every game is that it depends on the other guy showing up.”

    You just put your finger on my problem with DAOC and pretty much every PvP I’ve tried since. Even Battlegrounds and Warfronts often take a lot longer to pop than feels reasonable. People complain a lot about the predictability of traditional MMO PvE but I’ll take predictability over nothing going on any day.


  8. Sentack

    I really like PvP but the idea of waiting around for nothing just doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t mind small skirmish fights as well ( 10 vs 10 or so) but army vs army seems like your contribution is so minimal.

    Dust 514 might be more up my alley anyways, but I like the idea of doing my part to contribute to the EvE world in some way. I like the idea there could be mercenary squads people can hire to drop on worlds and help them claim zones.


  9. maniac69uk

    The Rorqual is indeed your friend in nullsec, if you are carefull. You can compress the ore to get somewhere like 10x the amount in, but then you can cyno the rorq out to a refining station sector. They are just dang slow!!!


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Time to train to basic Rorqual operations capability: 12 hours

    Cost to buy the skills: 1.1 billion ISK

    Heh, might be better to ship an Orca out there for now. Or a rigged Mammoth.


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Serpentine – That solves the immediate issue, but not the longer term “how do I mine without annoying having to pester my corp mates to haul my crap around all the time?”


  12. Serpentine Logic

    Use alliance-wide courier contracts (with collateral and reward) then.

    The issue of getting stuff moved around in Eve is a solved problem.


  13. Ardent Defender

    Aren’t it funny how much decisions one can entertain to sometimes cause mental paralysis in indecision. Funny at times it is.

    Well it’s the consideration of what Serpentine Logic already said above or some variation of it or get a Rorqual which you could consider as a investment in mining with the ability to compress your ore for shipment. If you utilize the Rorqual enough there in Null Sec mining the exotic minerals there then no reason the ship soon can’t pay for itself or provide some service as well using it on ops.

    Somewhere there is the answer. If you choose to just forget about mining the I guess it won’t matter much what you decide.


  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Serpentine – Yes, once I get it to a station, provided somebody is interested in doing the hauling. Padded Helmets, the regular CFC service, is really great. But they killed off our own regular alliance hauling. And PH only serves specific stations. Once I get stuff to VFK, life is easy. Getting it there could be weeks waiting for somebody interested in doing the hauling.

    And I still need hauling to get it from the belt to the station. I sent myself a Mammoth, fittings, and 8 GSCs from Jita last night via PH. With my skills, that holds more than a jet can and gets my current pile of ore down to four loads to bring to the processing station, at which point things get easier.

    @Grombeck – Indeed. I used to do high sec with 3, using two hulks and an orca, but I see I need a fourth on rat patrol out in null. Plus needing to watch local and the intel channels obsessively.


  15. Toldain

    Actual mining in a belt kind of requires a team effort, it’s true. But for the rest of the stuff, I did quite well with a maxed out Iteron V. I even managed to dodge a gate camp with it once.

    A freighter or jump freigher might have been better but it’s so much more to put at risk, and a jf is hard to operate solo.


  16. Anonymous

    Kids these days have it too easy, why back in my day we used Ospreys and Brutixes to mine Dark Orchre in Syndicate, then we had to load the Zydrine into a Kestrel and fly past three hostile gate camps to get to Oursulaert and sell to buy orders, in the SNOW!

    You have plenty of options, you can create a courier contract to move the ore, you can simply sell it on the market for less than market value and use the time you save to mine more, you can speak up and try to organize mining/hauling/industry group within your corp/alliance/coalition, you can convince someone to lend you a Rorqual, etc.

    A Rorqual is a good idea in the long term, no matter what you do in the short term, as it will let you operate out of a POS in a backwater system with no station, no competition, and no gankers. It also lets you offer your own jump services, and assist with alliance logistics and POS work, all of which are valuable and potentially profitable ventures.


  17. Justin C

    Mining in nullsec is not worth it with the logistics required and the criminally low buyback rate most null groups operate at.


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