Fittings for Capsuleers Episode IV – Mining barges
The next step up from mining frigates are mining barges. These ships are pretty much the everyday tool for most miners in New Eden. This article will go into which mining barges are available to you and how to fit them. All mining barges can be used to mine ore with their strip miners and mining laser upgrades. If you want to switch to ice mining, you can simply swap the modules for ice harvesters and the ice harvester upgrade module.
The Procurer is the beefiest of the three available mining barges. It has the most available hitpoints, which makes it a perfect ship for low-sec or null-sec mining. I also use the Procurer in wormhole space. It is an excellent ship to use for solo mining, even for hi-sec AFK mining. The Procurer has a 12.000 m3 ore hold but has the lowest mining yield of the three ships.
Its 50 m3 drone bay can provide you with a full set of mining drones and light combat drones. This makes the ship perfect for fending off spawned NPC ships.
In null-sec and low-sec you can find these often in large groups. It’s pretty difficult for a simple roaming gang to take down a 15 man Procurer fleet. Each Procurer can easily have 60.000/70.000+ hitpoints, and 100+ DPS with their light drones. The Procurer can also be fitted as a ‘Battleproc’, which mostly features a Warp Disruptor and/or a Warp Scrambler. The mining barges catch the pilot that warped onto them, hoping to kill a Procurer. If you have enough Procurers you can kill the attackers easily.
Otherwise, the PVP fleet, that was on standby to help the miners, can then destroy the attackers.
The Retriever is the mining barge with the biggest ore hold. It also has a 5% bonus to ore hold capacity per level of the Mining Barges skill. This makes it an excellent ship if you want to mine for extended periods of time, or when you want to mine several systems away from your home system. It has a semi-decent defense, and better mining yield than the Procurer. I like to use these ships when I am semi-AFK mining in high-sec, so I don’t have to dock up as often to drop off the ore.
Because of the exponentially lower hitpoints, in comparison to the Procurer, this ship is susceptible to being an easy target to enemy players, even in high-sec. This ship can be easily taken out by one or two blaster-fitted Catalysts, which are often used in ‘gank’ attacks. Keeping an eye out for enemy targets is advisable when mining in this ship.
The Covetor is the mining barge with the highest ore yield. It does have the lowest amount of hitpoints and the smallest ore hold. It’s almost half of what the Procurer has to offer, 7000 m3, and a regular fitted Covetor has around 10.000 hitpoints. This ship is less effective when used as a solo miner in high-sec, as it needs to drop off the ore often. When used together with a Porpoise or Orca it’s especially good for mining a lot of ore in a short period of time. My regular mining setup is an Orca/Porpoise and two tech II fitted Covetors. I use the large ore hold on the booster ship to collect all the ore the Covetors mine.
This ship is also the least suited for AFK mining. The low defense makes it a favored target for any kind of PVP pilot. When you are receiving mining boosts, you need to empty the ore hold every two cycles. This means you actively need to ‘work’ while mining with this ship.
For Ice mining, the Covetor can hold 7 cycles, which is an odd number when you are using 2 Ice Harvesters. Therefore, it’s better to mine together with a Porpoise or Orca to ditch the ice into.
Tech II strip miners
If you want to go the extra mile then you can train to use tech II strip miners and the mining laser crystals that they use. Most of the skills are fairly cheap, but there are skill books for each type of ore. The most expensive are the skill books for moon ore crystals. If you wish to train all these skills you’re looking at a rather decent investment. It will also take a fair amount of time to train all these skills. My advice is to first train for the ore you mine most of the time and work your way up from there. Tech II strip miners will only mine more ore when used with crystals, but if you want to specialize in obtaining certain types of ore it’s well worth the effort.
You also have Deep Core strip miners. These are only used to mine the Mercoxit ore, which is a volatile rock that can form a damaging cloud and do damage.
Deep Core mining fitting
The Retriever and Covetor are mainly used in high-sec. If you have a ‘safe’ environment, like a wormhole or you are mining in null-sec with friends, then you can use them as well of course. The Procurer is the safest and most stable means of getting those rocks harvested. You’re less likely to get ganked in high-sec, and a full fleet of Procurers is also more likely to survive in low-sec or null-sec.
I personally use the Covetor when I can mine with my boosting ship close by. The Procurer gets a lot of use when I mine in bigger fleets in null/low-sec. The Retriever gets used in wormhole space, so I can gather a lot of ore before I have to warp back to drop it off.
In the past, I have mainly used Procurers for ice mining because it felt the safest way to mine it. Another good ship for ice mining can be the Retriever, as it can stay in the ice belt longer, before you need to drop off the ice.
The following chart shows the ships ranked according to their ore hold capacity, mining yield, and available hitpoints.
Mining barges have gone up a lot in price over the past several years, due to inflation and due to the increased value of the required materials used to build them. It costs around 60-70 million ISK to get into one of them. This is a lot of money for new players, but it is well worth the investment. If you just keep an eye out for potential hostiles and NPC spawns, your mining barge should have a rather long lifespan. If you share your mining adventures with other corp members then you’re looking at a very fun time among the asteroids.