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.
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.
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.