Because they punch holes in rocks the size of battleships and extract stuff from there. Physically they already do “damage” but you can´t fire at ships with it.
Kinetic / Therm would sound reasonable to me on a level so that a skiff with a proper pilot and drones would not overcome ~400dps. Perhaps a similar mechanic like the triglivian guns use, so that the damage starts to ramp up? Maybe the most dps with T2 crystals (which should get more damage when firing on ships instead of rocks)
Not to rat with a skiff just to make pvp a little more interessting i mean let´s be serious now. Shooting defenceles barges is not really fascinating. In 8 of 10 times the miner escapes anyway (unless he´s not afk) and in 2 of 10 he´s dead once tackled.
Before now someone says “muhaha no wonder that idea comes from a industry char!”
i have a proper “bad boy alt” myself and as i do look for solo encounters (which are rare in eve anyway as most ppl only fight when they know they will win, but that´s a different sotry) i´d appreciate if miners would stand to fight instead of running.
Besides that i do not see any balance reasons why it should not be done.
If you keep the provided dps reasonable i do not see the danger of barge/exumer attack fleets