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Laser Mining Guide - Platinum Meta

August 2022 - Written for EDC Academy (https://discord.gg/elite)

Originally written by anonymous, currently maintained by Winter Ihernglass (forbiddenlake)

The Current State of Mining

TL;DR Laser Mining Platinum in an overlap is the current meta.

As of the late 2020 game rebalancing from Frontier, mining is not as profitable as it once was. Gone are the days of making close to a billion credits in a few hours. With that said, mining can still be a profitable venture, netting you close to 100 - 150 million credits in an hour. This will vary based on your ship, outfitting, engineering, and overall skill. Naturally it also includes luck when it comes to finding a good station to sell. Demand is now dynamic so data from EDDB / Inara older than a few hours is often highly inaccurate.

Important Tools

Laser Mining Builds

The current recommended progression path in terms of ships is Cobra Mk III > Asp Explorer > Python > Anaconda > Imperial Cutter. I have provided builds for these below:

I recommend storing a fuel scoop and an FSD booster at a station that is close to your mining spot, and then swapping out your collector limpet controllers for the journey.

Another good option is to sell to a fleet carrier in-system that is buying (find a recent one using Inara). 聽They will usually pay less than the top station, but you do not have to travel far to sell.

For core mining builds, please see this document.

NB - If you cannot afford to properly outfit, you cannot afford to buy the ship at all


What to mine?

Despite Frontier's desire to have core mining become more profitable, and even with the recent fix to the Pulse Wave Analyser, laser mining is still king聽due to how slow and inconsistent core mining is. Even though Painite was nerfed very heavily it is generally still better than core provided you have somewhere to sell. But the new meta is considered to be Platinum聽at the moment, as it is very easy to get, sells for a similar price to Painite, and overall galaxy wide demand seems to be much higher. Osmium also tends to sell well for a similar amount at the same stations as Platinum, meaning your mining runs will be much faster, as it is common to find Osmium in Platinum hotspots.

Please note: mining is HEAVILY dependent on the method of mining and the type of ring. For details, see the 鈥渕inerals by mining method and ring type鈥 link above. For the purposes of this document: Platinum can only be laser mined聽in metallic rings. If a body has two rings, and one of them is metallic, then the ring closer to the body聽is metallic. Ring A is the inner ring, followed by B, and rarely, C. If you drop in the wrong type of ring, and try to mine the wrong way, you will have a bad time, even if it says it鈥檚 a hotspot.[1]

As a side note, many people often ask about LTD鈥檚 in the Academy - LTD鈥檚 were heavily nerfed in terms of price, demand, and ease of acquisition, even in a triple hotspot, so I would recommend sticking to one of the more easily available materials.

If you are still interested in core mining, the good news is that pretty much every material sells quite well, around 800k per tonne at high demand stations.

For reference I鈥檝e created a table below so you know how to obtain some typically chosen materials (more in depth sheet available here):

Laser Mining

Core Mining

Painite

Void Opals

Platinum

Alexanderite

Osmium

Musgravite

LTD鈥檚聽(Not Recommended)

Grandiderite

And here are a few hotspot overlaps. You can find the nearest overlaps to you using the Miner's Tool. Please note the ring.


How to mine?

For the purposes of this guide, I am only going to be covering laser mining. If you鈥檇 like to find out how to do core mining, please visit Hawkes Gaming YouTube guide here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t16tSafwgpw

Now that you鈥檝e gotten your ship outfitted, and stocked up on limpets (purchased from the restock tab under advanced maintenance) it鈥檚 time to head to an overlap. When it comes to overlaps, you want to enter the ring in the spot where the two circles are overlapping. Here鈥檚 an example. You will need to fire a probe from your Detailed Surface Scanner to see the hotspots, and probe both rings if there is more than one, so that you know where to drop. Aim for one of the thick yellow/orange bands as you are approaching. If you can鈥檛 see the yellow/orange circles, this is a common bug that is sometimes fixed by relogging, but if it is not, you can still drop close to or in between the waymakers. Do not go too fast or you will take damage from the emergency stop.

Now that you鈥檝e arrived at your hotspot, you鈥檙e going to want to wait for around 2 minutes to let the NPC pirate scan you. They spawn when you enter the ring, or when you log back in inside of the ring. Once they have completed their scan it is safe to begin mining, as they will not spawn again. (Sometimes pirates do not spawn. If you鈥檝e waited 5 minutes and see no other ships on your contacts, you should be good to go)

Keep in mind that for both your lasers and limpet controllers they will need to be bound to a firegroup before you can use them, like so.


To get started, you鈥檙e going to want to start firing off prospector limpets at asteroids. Keep in mind you can only have a limited amount active at once, so be patient and wait for them to make contact with the asteroid before shooting out more. This is also why you will periodically hear 鈥淧rospector Limpet Failed鈥 as your old ones are killed to make room for new ones.

After your prospector limpet successfully engages with an asteroid, you鈥檙e going to want to target it as you would a Nav Beacon or another Ship. This will then show you the contents of the asteroid in the targeting panel, just like this.聽(Material content refers to presence of raw engineering materials and can be ignored) When you find an asteroid with a good amount of your desired resource (>30% or Multiple desired resources), deploy your hardpoints and cargo scoop, and without targeting any chunks, fire out your collector limpets. If you are targeting chunks with your collectors deployed, they will collect only that and then expire, so it鈥檚 best to just keep your prospector limpet targeted so you can keep track of how much is left in the asteroid.

Put 4 pips to weps & begin firing your mining lasers anywhere on the surface of the asteroid, it鈥檚 recommended to be in close proximity to the asteroid if you can, so as to speed up the rate that your collector limpets work at. If the asteroid is spinning, you are going to want to move along the axis of rotation otherwise you or your collector limpets are going to suffer some damage.

Now that you鈥檝e shot off some chunks, your limpets will collect them and bring them to your cargo scoop, and they will be processed into your refinery bins.聽Once a bin reaches 100% it will be processed into 1 unit of the resource. To avoid your bins becoming clogged up with unwanted resources, you can add chunks to your ignore list using the contacts tab, and your limpets will ignore them, and your refinery will not process them. You continue along with this process until your hold is full or you run out of limpets. If you are doing it correctly you are quite likely to fill up your hold faster than you use limpets, so don鈥檛 be afraid to jettison some of them from your inventory to free up space.

How and where to sell?

The markets in Elite Dangerous are dynamic, as such the best place to sell your haul one day, may not be so hot the next. For this reason we will rely on third party tools such as Inara聽or EDDB聽to locate good markets to sell. Keep in mind that the best place to sell may be some distance from your mining spot, so I recommend storing a fuel scoop and an FSD booster at a station that is close to your mining spot, and then swapping out your collector limpet controllers for the journey.

Due to personal preference I鈥檒l demonstrate how to find stations using EDDB. You鈥檒l want to use the commodities page聽to locate your chosen resources page, Platinum聽for example. You鈥檒l then want to set your current system as your reference system, and select sell under the buy or sell field. Make sure to also select the appropriate landing pad size for your ship. For example, I set my filter up here聽and sorted the bottom table by sell price. You鈥檒l notice plenty of stations have not been updated very recently, as denoted by the far right hand column. Those are the stations we want to avoid, even if the sell price is somewhat better. Ideally you want to head to a station with less than an hour since the last update, since the longer the entry has been on EDDB, the more likely it is that other CMDR鈥檚 have sold and met the demand at the station.

Lastly, you鈥檙e also going to want to find a station with a demand at least 4x that of your haul. Otherwise your sell price per unit will be reduced due to bulk tax.


Frequently Asked Questions

鈥淪hould I run without shields for more cargo space? I鈥檝e seen other players do it!鈥

No, no, no. Never go shieldless, ever, it is a very bad idea. One mistake and you will die, and potentially lose hours of progress, which is an extremely frustrating experience and not worth the extra space. Other players are idiots.

鈥淲hy do you have shield boosters included in all your builds?鈥

That would be due to a similar reason as per the above question. Survivability is important, especially if you are playing in Open. There is no good reason to not run shield boosters, and plenty of good reasons why you should.

鈥淗ow many limpets should I buy?鈥

If you鈥檙e new, you are going to want to just fill your hold. Limpets are inexpensive and you can always dump if you have too many. Over time you can develop a sense of how many you will need for a run.

鈥淐an I D-rate my prospector to save weight and money?鈥

No. Always A-rate your prospector, as prospectors increase yield based on grade.

鈥淲hy no multi-limpet controller?鈥

For several reasons, but the biggest is that (other than the size 7) the controller is C-rated, which literally means it gets you fewer minerals from laser mining.

鈥淵ou don鈥檛 have a Type 9 build, why not?鈥

The Type-9 is a very slow ship, with a weak power distributor, that cannot handle 3x 2D lasers. You鈥檙e better off doing shorter runs in an Anaconda.

鈥淲hy no Type 6 build?鈥

The Type-6 only has small hardpoints, and a small hardpoint literally drains a rock at a third of the rate of one medium.

鈥淚 found a Fleet Carrier buying for a large amount but it won鈥檛 work! What gives?鈥

With the pricing change update, older buy orders from Fleet Carriers no longer work. I would recommend avoiding checking FC鈥檚 with high prices for this reason. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

鈥淚n your builds, why don鈥檛 you put a mining laser in every slot? Why don鈥檛 you use 1D mining lasers either?鈥

You want to aim for optimal uptime when it comes to firing your lasers, this is why in the builds there are 4 pips to weapons. This is based on the ship's power distributor and how long it takes with constant firing to be depleted. As for 1D mining lasers, they are incredibly energy inefficient so for the same reason as above I don鈥檛 recommend using them.

鈥淚s bringing an extra subsurface displacement missile/abrasion blaster worth it?鈥

In the case of the SSD, I鈥檇 say no. Abrasion blaster is okay if you just want to get a few easy extra chunks as you find them.

聽鈥淚 found something that is outdated/wrong in your guide!鈥

Contact info is below, or ask in #mining-help on https://discord.gg/elite

How to avoid "black adder" errors (By CMDR Nexdemise):

Black adder errors happen when your inventory suffers a desync between your game and the game servers. This can happen in one of three ways:

Special Thanks


[1]聽Platinum does form cores and does have hotspots in metal-rich rings, but cannot be laser mined in metal-rich rings. 聽Many commanders see the word Hotspot in a metal-rich ring and assume that means they can laser mine there, but the game doesn鈥檛 work that way. 聽Don鈥檛 be that commander!