just a quick idea: Add the carrot-method to mining, too. people will love it.
Make people able to brag about their “mining achievement”. LOL.
So for each cycle on a mininglaser and similar, there is a chance for a some item to appear in cargo.
The chance should depend on the rarity of rock that is mined and the m3/cycle.
OR when an asteroid is “exploding”, there is something like a “wreck” that has a chance to contain that stuff. Depending on rarity and size of course.
OR add a progress bar somewhere and daily boosts.
OR make those asteroid wrecks salvageable.
This should last longer than just some silly event to get players really hooked. Takes 2 months for a habit to form.
So ancient relics or salvage would make sense lore wise, but this would ruin the competition somewhere else, right?
OR Small chunks of Mercoxite? this would be themed good, but wouldnt this be bad for T2?
OR The salvageable wrecks of asteroids ahve a chance to contain materials for booster production (garbage, spirits, …, corpses )
Anyway, i hope/guess you can come up with a solution for the Loot problem.