Resource extraction in lowsec

I’ve never strayed into lowsec before but I may have to in order to turn a profit with fuel blocks. How do I set things up and keep things running safely (minimizing risk of ganking)?

I don’t really think there is a safe way to do it. To me its relative. Either the rats will get you if you mine in a Venture, and since its the cheapest way to go I would try the little miner first, or of course you have those that enjoy ganking.

The way I do it is to usually have an alt in a combat ship standing by for the rats, I put a cloak and MWD on my Venture. The MWD to get me to the rock quickly, and the cloak to hide when someone comes in. I also hide and let the combat toon do its thing when the rats come.

If you can find a relatively quite system it means fewer interruptions. And the more belts a system has, the more to choose from. For you and the gankers.

I like to find belts in a dead end system, or one with the fewest gates in and out. I like to set book marks away from the warp in point. A good way away from it. I like to warp in under the rocks.

The rats also warp in and if you watch them you can figure out where they usually land. It might vary, but as long as your a good ways from the warp at zero point you should be okay. Other than that its a grind.

The interruptions can be stressful, and the output is not all that great. If you feel okay with a mining barge or something better then by all means go for it. My alt can fly a Prospect, but even that can be a bear at times. When CCP went and changed all the ore/minerals it did me no favors. I stopped mining in low sec. Maybe if the upcoming changes brings some of the better ore back I might try again. If not I don’t know. There are better ways to make isk and then just buy what you need.

Also, if you have never made an instawarp book mark off a stations I would do that. I would also have an instadock for the station you choose. I like to warp on top of the stations. The instawarp can get you out of your being camped and want to move anyway. It can save a ship full of ore or minerals. And instadock can get you far enough away from someone sitting on your station and waiting for you, depending on the station, and of course you can pop right in if need be.

I would also place pings on the gates coming and going in the route you want to take. It could save you a smart bombing or gate camp. Set them far enough off the gate so you can look around, and have time enough to get away. Set them at least as far as the minimum warp to distant. I like around a thousand kay of or better. Set a few safe spots. If you ever do have an incursion in your system, then warp to the beacons around one hundred kay off, and drop the safe spots there. Its a good long way out. Keep that cloak handy. Use warp core stabs. Your not a combat ship, your a mining ship. Refit in your station and go about your business and good luck out there.

One last thing, I do not bother to mine in fac warfare zones, or systems that serve as a pipe for traveling. Heavily travelled systems are the pits. I also try and mine at off hours and days. Get used to who is in and out of your system and when they are there. Set them with standings so that you can see when they come in. I don’t know how old you are, and I am not trying to sound like some know it all, I am certainly not. Its just a few things that have worked for me in the past.

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This.

This is learning to EVE.

If only all miners would read what you wrote.

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This implies a structure or a POS tower setup. And I’m assuming since you’re asking here, you’re a 1-player operation.

You can use the smallest tower and a compression array to minimize your cost to mine and haul out low/null sec ore. Similar to what Brown mentioned, you have to be choosy about your system, and it is not without risks. I second everything mentioned about bookmarks and actively keeping an eye on local and learning the region where you’ll mine.

While I did do some low sec mining, I instead went to NPC nullsec to mine Mercox/Bistot/Arkonor solo. Procurer and Prospect were my ships of choice. Certain anomalies do not spawn rats. At the opposite end of the spectrum, certain nullsec belts I would have to be lucky with rats neither spawning/warping to safely mine. Dread/Super/Titan rats are not to be around with mining ships, and attracts players who want the bounty+loot.

For Low-sec mining, you can either have high enough drone skills with your procurer to kill the rats, or you can sig+speed tank the rats in your prospect, so you never technically need a second toon. Though it is often useful (even for just scouting info). This is probably the only teeny tiny bit of advice I’d diverge from Brown on: speed tanking in a Venture I believe should be possible for low sec rats that spawn in most anomalies.

All of this to say: I did that insane mining setup because it was fun, danger lurking at every turn and every gate and every neut, you only have your wits and no guns to stay safe. I didn’t do it for the money. It was not very profitable.

EDIT: Also, as a 1-player, talk in local. Get to know your neighbors. Turns out, this is a social game, even if you’re a solo player, so don’t play alone.

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This is also learning to EVE.

All miners, please read this paragraph and take it to heart.

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From your post it sounds like you’re losing money on fuel blocks and are foolishly trying to make it up with mining. Mining profit should not be part of industry profit. If you can’t make a profit buying the materials to build your stuff, you probably should reconsider building it.

Now, if you want to go to lowsec to mine to earn better isk than highsec, good on ya. I like the expedition frigates myself. For ice you’ll want an Endurance, for ore or gas you’ll want a Prospect. They’re speedy and cloaky so harder to catch than a lumbering barge.

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I’m talking about setting up PI in lowsec, although I appreciate your advice with mining.

Ah ok. What kinds of volumes are you moving? Epithal has a purpose-based hold but you’ll probably want a scout since it won’t be able to dodge a gatecamp very well. Blockade Runners have lower volume but can warp cloaked and are much harder to catch. Jump freighters are the best option but are really expensive and skill/alt intensive. If you’re in a corp/alliance with a JF service my advice is to just use that or maybe find someone who needs what you have locally.

Ah! Well, same advice as before, still be very choosy about which lowsec system you want to do your PI setup in. Consider factors like: does it have an NPC station? Is the system known for gantry-campers? How many jumps between high and low sec?

Consider that the most vulnerable period for your ship is hanging outside of a customs office, shuffling the materials in and out of the POCO. There are piloting techniques you can use to minimize time around the POCO with that align button. Then there are factors that guide your ship choice strategy, as the logistics between POCO-to-POCO is different than from exporting PI low-to-high sec. Since you can’t cloak and interact with the POCO (and it’ll decloak you), you could stage a cheap Epithal in the low sec system just to run around and do the dangerous work of collecting PI at POCOs, then consolidate it all into a station and BR it out of system. But this assumes a lot (everything in 1 system, your robot/coolant/uranium/etc PI export is focused more on higher-tier PI like robotics that will more readily fit in a BR, etc).

If you instead are limited on cargo space, a DST with its fleet hangar is probably overkill. Though with the cloak+MWD trick it is still pretty good (or, a not-well-known-hint: if you have AB/MWD skills to V you often can triple-prop it, for cloak/mjd/mwd trick). But if you’re going to use a DST, you might as well look at manufacturing the fuel blocks in low sec, and if you do that, you might have low sec locals that are willing to buy from you instead of however far the trade hub is. This ties back into: if you’re a solo player, don’t play alone, talk in local and get to know your neighbors.

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I can’t use advanced industrials yet. Is this still feasible with a T1?

Well, feasibility is just a measure of risk management, and your ability to manage those risks. I can’t answer that for you. As you add constraints, you’re adjusting your risks. You can accept them as is, try different mitigation strategies, and so on.

For example: is the align time of your T1 more than 10 seconds? An option to address this is by the modules that reduce align time. Another option is the MWD+cloak trick. All are helpful to manage the risk of staying on grid by reducing the time you’ll spend on grid. Cloaks take some skill points and cost ISK, so it is not a free mitigation.

Another example: Is the PI system that has the perfect planet arrangement and stats, where there’s constant ship/pod kills on DOTLAN? An option to reduce the risk of getting caught by seeing a pattern of Time Zones of PVP activity (if it exists) in zKill at a cost of only going in the system during off-peak hours. Another option by finding a different system that is in quieter areas of low sec and sacrifice some yield.

Another example: Moving everything to low sec at once will incur super high upfront capital costs, and you may fear you never (or will take a long time to) recoup the costs. An option could be to start with migrating just 1 planet setup, to get your feet wet. Another option to mitigate this fear/risk could be to just buy an extra T1 industrial with the mindset of “I’m going to get blown up in this” and practice flying around in the prospective low system – and it may not get blown up. Each has different costs/downsides.

I’m sorry I can’t answer your question outright – it really depends on how you want to approach the challenges of lowsec logistics. But if the question is “is it strange or unusual for people that live in high sec to have PI setups in low sec?” then the answer is no. When I lived in NPC null I did very rarely see the high sec breed of capsuleer in an Epithal.

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PI in lowsec with Epithals and making fuel should be possible.

You would need a station as base, preferably one that has the industry capability to turn your PI into fuel blocks like you want. And the capability to reprocess ice, as reprocessed ice takes a lot of space to haul.

Your station preferably is in a system with the right types of planets. 2x plasma, 2x barren, 2x gas is what I use for my fuel setup. If it is not all in your station’s system, not a big problem but risk goes up for each gate your Epithal needs to take to get to your planets.

Good planets are nice (check their resources), but you also need customs offices to get your goods out. Check that whoever owns the local customs offices has reasonable taxes (5-10%, maybe 15% at most?) and keep in mind that they could change those taxes at any time.

Next, put up instadock and insta-undock bookmarks at your station so you can enter and leave without getting caught.

Getting the PI to the station might be dangerous, but you only have to do that every few weeks so try to find a quiet moment. My Epithal is nullified, warp core stabbed, hyperspatial and fast aligning, which can be caught but is hard to catch if you do not linger at customs offices and scout your gates ahead. When you warp to a customs office, the only time you should spend there is the few seconds it takes to align to the next. So make sure you’ve already remotely dragged all the goods to the right place before you warp there.

Now you have PI in a low sec station. A big challenge will be ‘how to turn that into ISK’.

Making fuel blocks is an option (and would require ice mining or importing) if there is local demand for fuel blocks. Local demand for PI would also be great.

Otherwise you will need some way to get your goods out to a (high sec) market. Hauling contracts out of low sec may be expensive, blockade runners can do it safely but due to the large volume that may take a while. Deep space transports can do it a bit quicker with their big fleet hangar, but are a bit less safe. Epithals even less so. Personally I’m saving up for a jump freighter to deal with that logistical problem.

For ice mining I used to fly an Endurance (and later on Endurance + cloaky Porpoise) which allowed me to cloak up whenever danger showed up and have the Endurance as a scout for the Porpoise while traveling. The Endurance can easily kill the smaller NPCs and sigtank the bigger ones, and with the help of the Porpoise you can also kill bigger rats. I hope this may still be a valid strategy after the mining changes.

If you want to mine your own ice, check if there are any ice systems near the station you want to pick as your base.

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