“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.
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.