Star Citizen: The ultimate mining guide
Where are the best spots for mining? Which resources are the most profitable? Our tips & tricks for mining will help you.
In this article we answer the following questions:
- How do I handle the mining spaceship MISC Prospector perfectly?
- How can I distinguish good from bad resource deposits?
- Which materials are particularly worthwhile?
- What do I need to keep in mind when extracting resources?
- How does asteroid mining work?
- Which spots in the universe are particularly lucrative?
- What will the future of the mining profession be like in Star Citizen?
- Which production chains should be possible in Star Citizen?
In order to have complete production chains in a player-driven economy in Star Citizen at some point in the future, a lot of basic work is still needed. That means in plain language: Professions, which cover different branches of industry such as raw material extraction and logistics. The foundations for logistics have already been laid since Update 3.0.
With ships like the Freelancer or the Caterpillar we load the freight rooms at trading kiosks and ship our goods to another place in the persistent universe, where we hope to achieve a sufficiently high price in order not only to recoup purchasing and transport costs (fuel and possibly also ammunition and repair costs), but also to make a decent profit.
Mining is the first rather “active” profession in the game since Update 3.2. Mining in Star Citizen requires not only a suitable spaceship, but also a great deal of skill and sensitivity. Meanwhile Update 3.4 has been released and mining was expanded with asteroid mining and new resources. There are also new moons and asteroid belts where we can search for resources. We will introduce you to mining in detail and show you which tips and tricks will make you a professional miner. We will also explain what is planned for mining in Star Citizen in the future and what an extensive production chains could look like in Star Citizen in the (somewhat more distant) future. Read more about what is planned for Star Citizen in our roadmap article.
If you don’t feel like details, here is a short summary for you.
Attention: Star Citizen is still in its alpha phase. Changes are normal with every patch. Therefore, data in this guide may sometimes differ from practice. We try to incorporate changes immediately and keep the guide up to date at all times, but if you notice significant differences, please let us know in the comments.
- 1 TL;DR: How do I get rich quickly with mining?
- 2 Mining and Performance
- 3 Guide to Mining
- 4 Search for resources
- 5 Where can I find the best mining locations / mining spots?
- 6 Which raw materials are particularly valuable and which prices are achieved?
- 7 Alignment of the spaceship before mining
- 8 How do I mine rocks correctly in Star Citizen?
- 9 How do I extract resources / raw materials from the boulders?
- 10 Where can I sell raw materials?
- 11 The future of mining in Star Citizen
- 12 Mining-Plattform Orion: From miner to industrial magnate
- 13 Production chains in Star Citizen: The road ahead
TL;DR: How do I get rich quickly with mining?
- You don’t get rich quickly with mining, but you get rich constantly. How much you earn depends on chance, but also on your skill. And this is how it works:
- Buy yourself a MISC Prospector (real money or in-game in Lorville / Levski)
- Fly to a moon or into an asteroid field
- Short distance, medium profit: Levski (Delamar) –> Asteroid fields
- Medium range, medium to large profit: Port Olisar –> Cellin, Daymar
- Long distance, medium to large profit: Lorville (Hurston) –> Aberdeen, Arial
- Scan for mineable rocks (TAB key)
- In Mining mode (key “M”) mainly extract Taranite, Bexalite, Borase, Laranite, Agricium and Hephaestanite. Leave Corundum, Quartz and Aluminium behind, everything else will only be mined if the content is at least 5 – 10 or more percent
- Extract only those pieces of rock that have a good mass-resource ratio
Mining and Performance
Star Citizen is still in the alpha phase, but Update 3.4 now lets us play very well and most of the time smoothly. Regular framerate drops are history: Performance and stability have been improved considerably, as our performance guide shows. So if you don’t catch a server with hiccups or run into bugs, you can already have a lot of fun with the mining profession.
Guide to Mining
Which spaceships can be used for mining in Star Citizen?
- Currently we are only able to mine resources with the MISC Prospector. The mining platform Orion will be introduced later.
The spaceship: MISC Prospector
To be able to mine, you must own the appropriate spaceship. Currently there is only one ship that can mine: the Prospector. We present this single-seater industrial ship in detail in the linked article.
The Prospector can currently be purchased for 185 $ on the official website of developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG). If, on the other hand, you bought the concept of the recycling ship Vulture some time ago, you will receive a Prospector on loan until the Drake ship is completed and published.
But you can also earn it in the game: In Lorville and Levski the Prospector is for sale for 1.620.750 aUEC.
Search for resources
How and where can I find mineable rocks / resources?
- With the scan mechanism we find resources on moon surfaces or in asteroid belts.
In Star Citizen’s Alpha 3.4 we find resources in rocks on moons or asteroids. So we fly with the prospector to a moon (or an asteroid belt), for example Arial (in orbit of the planet Hurston). Once we reach the surface, we switch to scanning mode with the TAB-button. Keep the left mouse button pressed to fully charge the scan and release the button to trigger the ping.
In contrast to the introduction of mining last year, resource rocks are now much harder to find. Therefore, after a scan, you will often first be shown only an area where resources may be located. Potential mining resources are displayed by large cuboid grids as in the screenshot above.
Fly into such an area and repeat the scan to find resource deposits. Use the “C” and “V” buttons to change the scan radius to 2x or even 4x. This reduces the radius, but increases the accuracy and displays more resource deposits.You can also visually search for mineable rocks, as they have their own texture and often the same shape as the following image shows.
Note: When mining asteroids there is no mining area shown, only the mineable asteroids within the scan radius.
Fly towards the marked rocks and align ship and target cursor to the rock to perform a depth scan.
Usually a resource deposit can be examined by scanning, but this does not always work reliably at the moment. The depth scan often doesn’t start until you’re very close or have switched to mining mode (Button “M”). The following data will be obtained:
On the top right of the mining interface of the Prospector you will find the mass of the rock. The higher the mass, the more energy you need to crack the rock.
For the most part, the rocks consist of so-called “inert materials”, i.e. worthless components of the stone (rock, dust, etc.). We also find more valuable materials such as Bexalite, Agricium or Gold. The composition is presented to us below the mass display of the rock. The material quantity is given as a percentage.
The instability of the rock is displayed to the left below the energy transfer graph. The higher the instability, the faster the rock tends to overload and explode uncontrollably.
The resistance of a rock (the value is displayed in the user interface below the instability value) indicates how hard it is for our mining laser to crack it. The closer the value aproaches 1, the more resistant the stone is and the more difficult will the injection of energy be.
Where can I find the best mining locations / mining spots?
- There are no best spots per se. Short distances can be found with asteroid mining above Delamar. Potentially very profitable mining spots with medium distances are Cellin, Daymar, Aberdeen and Arial. We recommend Yela only with escort because of the pirates and the outlaw station GrimHex.
In the past, profitable deposits could be found near mining outposts. Meanwhile, the deposits are much more widespread. There are theories that the spawn rate of valuable materials such as Agricium depends on the subsurface (for example, Agricium on Yela is said to occur more frequently on snow, i.e. white subsurface), but we have not been able to verify that so far. We can only say with confidence that it is a matter of chance which resources occur in which quantities. You can’t avoid a proper search.
However, some resources only appear in certain areas. The following list will tell you where to expect which resources.
|Crusader||The gas giant can currently not be explored|
|Cellin||Aluminium, Beryl, Bexalite, Corundum, Gold, Hephaestanite, Titanium|
|Daymar||Agricium, Beryl, Copper, Corundum, Diamond, Gold, Quartz, Taranite, Titanium, Tungsten|
|Yela||Aluminium, Agricium, Beryl, Corundum, Diamond, Laranite, Tungsten|
|CRU L1 – L5||Aluminium, Borase, Copper, Corundum, Diamond, Gold, Laranite, Titanium, Tungsten|
|Delamar||Mining is not possible on the planetoid itself|
|Asteroid fields||Aluminium, Borase, Copper, Corundum, Diamond, Gold, Laranite, Titanium, Tungsten|
|Hurston||Mining is currently not possible on the planet|
|Aberdeen||Beryl, Bexalite, Corundum, Diamond, Hephaestanite, Gold, Titanium|
|Arial||Bexalite, Hephaestanite, Quartz|
|Ita||Agricium, Aluminium, Beryl, Copper, Diamond, Gold, Quartz, Titanium, Tungsten|
|Magda||Agricium, Aluminium, Beryl, Diamond, Tungsten|
|HUR L1 – L4||Aluminium, Borase, Copper, Corundum, Diamond, Gold, Laranite, Titanium, Tungsten|
Which raw materials are particularly valuable and which prices are achieved?
- Currently Taranite, Bexalite, Borase, Laranite, Agricium and Hephaestanite bring the most money.
If you always immediately attack the first resource depot with your mining laser, you will soon find that you are wasting a lot of time for extremely little money. Therefore it is good to know which deposits contain which materials and which resources generate the most credits.
Note: This list does not claim to be complete. If you have further information on minerals and deposits, please let us know in the comments. The list is sorted by the most valuable resources currently available. The percentage recommendations are indicative.
Last updated: January 2019
|Agricium||Gneiss, Granite, Shale||1||814,17|
|Titanium||Asteroid (P-Type), Igneous, Shale||1||262,7|
|Diamond||Gneiss, Granite, Quartzite||1||216,18|
|Gold||Asteroid (E-Type), Igneous, Quartzite, Shale||1||192,86|
|Copper||Asteroid (E-Type), Igneous||1||182,13|
|Tungsten||Asteroid (M-Type), Granite, Igneous||1||123,67|
|Corundum||Asteroid (E-/M-Type), Granite, Obsidian||1||80|
|Aluminium||Asteroid (P-/M-Type), Shale||1||38,97|
Now you can quickly preselect the deposits or resources you want to mine, which saves you a lot of time.
When should I mine one of the above resources?
Dark green = Always
Light green = at least 5 percent
Orange = at least 10 percent
Red = at least 25 percent
What should I pay attention to when it comes to resources?
- The higher the percentage of the resource, the better.
If you take a closer look at a deposit, pay particular attention to the percentages. The higher the percentage, the more profit! For example, an 18% quartz deposit is more lucrative than a 0.4% diamond deposit. However, one percent Laranite is worth more than 18 percent Quartz.
Take your time to find a lucrative resource depot. You will ultimately save time and earn more money. Beyond that you can remember as a rule of thumb: The further back the green area in the Rock Energy Level display (bottom left in the user interface) and the smaller this area is, the more profitable this rock most likely is.
Alignment of the spaceship before mining
Before you shoot at a rock with the mining laser, position the Prospector reasonably. If you are too far away from the rock, you may not be able to inject enough energy into rocks with a high resistance level. You can fly relatively close to rocks. But beware: The closer you are to a rock, the more damage the stone causes when you blow it up by overloading. This could lead to the destruction of your spaceship.
Pro tip: Mining takes a while in Star Citizen. Although a floating Prospector remains quite still in the air, there is still a certain amount of self-movement. This can lead to the laser slipping off the target in the middle of the battle, especially in case of rock fragments. This is especially annoying if you were just about to crack the stone. You can prevent that by landing the prospector. If you also switch off the ship’s engines, you’ll save a lot of fuel, which reduces your expenses and increases your profit.
Disadvantage: Sometimes rock fragments can drop outside the laser’s range of motion when a rock breaks apart. Then we have to restart the engines and reposition the ship to reap the fruits of our labor. It is also not possible to strafe backwards in order to gain distance to the rock and thereby additionally influence the energy supply.
When mining asteroids, you have to be careful whether the laser is moved away from the stone by any movement of the spaceship. Adjust carefully using the strafing keys.
How do I mine rocks correctly in Star Citizen?
- In mining mode, we have to use the mining laser on the rock and change the energy level of the rock until it breaks.
Mining Laser, Mining Throttle, Energy Transfer Graph
When you are in mining mode, activate the mining laser with the left mouse button. The goal is to completely fill the fracturing sensor on the right side. To do this, we need to keep the energy level of the stone (Rock Energy Level, the indicator to the left below the laser strength indicator, Laser Throttle) in the green area. This area can be quite small and it takes some practice to keep the laser energy there long enough until the fracturing sensor is completely filled.
You can change the strength of the mining laser by turning the mouse wheel. Alternatively (and this is also our recommendation) you can put the mining laser in the key configurations for HOTAS under Mining –> Mining Throttle on a throttle axis. In the picture you can see two solutions, which we like very much.
As a beginner you should first get a feel for the laser. Slowly increase the energy input until the Energy Transfer Graph on the left in the user interface begins to rise. The higher the energy level of the rock rises, the faster the energy rises. This means that at a certain point little additional energy is sufficient to significantly increase the energy level. You can imagine it a bit like one of these model cars with swing drive: As soon as you have pushed the car, its swing drive will accelerate it forward by itself.
Constant readjustment of the energy supply
Especially with a very small green area this can lead to difficulties, because when we get into the red area, the overcharge sensor (displayed on the right below the fracturing sensor) rises. At the same time, the fracturing sensor sinks rapidly. When the overcharge sensor is completely filled, the rock explodes and can seriously damage or even destroy our ship.
Attention: How often you get into the overcharge zone also determines how far the pieces of rock fly after you have successfully broke the rock. Especially when mining asteroids it can be a bit annoying to have to fly after the boulders.
This means that we have to readjust the energy supply constantly – there is rarely a perfect setting. The energy in the rock either rises or it sinks. The trick is to develop a feeling for how much energy we need to supply or take away when we are in the green zone.
Pay attention to the percentage display on the left above the Rock Energy Level and regulate the energy accordingly, for example from 12 percent with a single turn of the mouse wheel to 4-5 percent and vice versa. Watch the behavior of the energy closely and try to spot regularities. Very helpful here is the sound, which tells a lot about the condition of the stone. So listen carefully.
Also watch the ratio of the rock mass against the energy level increase. The instability and resistance of the rock also play a role here. This ratio quickly shows you, that there are certain percentages or ranges of percentages that you can follow. This is helpful for future mining on rocks of similar or equal mass.
In the following table we have compiled a few empirical values in this regard. Please consider them only as rough guidelines, for practice you must absolutely also make your own experiences.
|Mass / kg||Initial charging %||Green Zone: Max. %||Green Zone: Min. %|
|3.000 – 4.000||70||40||20|
|400 – 600||20||12||4|
So in order to keep the energy supply in the green range, we have to switch between high and low values at the right moments. As soon as we have the feeling that the energy could immediately make a jump into the red range, we have to change to the low value, but then switch back to the high value in time, before the energy sinks from the green range or if it has sunk just below it.
Pro tip: Using the HOTAS controllers mentioned above, the energy can also be injected very well in bursts. Use the throttle or the wheel to briefly release full or at least high energy and immediately set the laser back to zero. Repeat this regularly to stay within the green range.
Below the green area the fracturing sensor sinks again, which can make the whole thing a bit hectic. Hectic is the last thing you need right now, though. Keep calm and better start again before you destroy the stone and possibly your spaceship.
If you can’t control the energy and are about to overload the rock completely, switch off the laser with a left click or move it away from the rock. If you do this in time, the energy level will drop slowly and you can try again after a few minutes.
Cracking particularly tough stones
Is your mining laser already at 100 percent, but you still can’t get into the green area? Then you have to fly closer to the stone.
Another (future) possibility is the overclocking of the mining laser. Go to the “Items” menu item on one of the multi function displays (MFD). Look for the entry “Varipuck S2 Gimbal Mount” and click on “Overclock”. At the moment nothing changes in the energy display, so it is likely that this feature is not yet active and will only work properly in a later update. But you already know how and where you can overclock.
A third possibility is to get a buddy with a second Prospector and crack the stone together. However, this requires good communication in order to successfully coordinate the double energy supply.
How do I extract resources / raw materials from the boulders?
- With the extraction mode we collect minerals from the boulders. While doing so, we pay attention to the mass-content ratio of the individual boulders and leave small resource percentages behind.
The Prospector is equipped with four mining containers. Each container can hold eight standard cargo units (SCU, the unit of measurement for cargo in Star Citizen; 1 m³ plus an edge of 125 mm on each side) of material. To transport resources into the containers, right-click to switch from mining mode to extraction mode and start the tractor beam. Rock fragments that can be placed in the containers are shown with a purple border. Align the tractor beam until the chunk has been fully picked up.
Important: In order to achieve the highest possible profit, you should watch the ratio between mass and resources. The smaller the mass and the higher the percentage of the contained resource, the better. Example: A 70 kg boulder with 11 percent resources is usually preferable to a 210 kg boulder with 5 percent resources. However, you also have to consider the rarity of the material. You should usually take the most valuable resources from our list above with you as long as the resource content is not completely marginal (e.g. 0.04 percent).
Where can I sell raw materials?
- In Port Olisar, Levski, GrimHEX and Lorville you can sell mined resources.
Once you have reached the maximum of 32 SCU (see the Cargo Capacity indicator in the middle right in Mining mode), it’s time to fly back and sell your stuff. You can do this in Port Olisar, Levski, GrimHEX and Lorville at one of the special trading consoles that hang on the wall near the administration. The admin office in Lorville is located in the Metro Center district.
The future of mining in Star Citizen
Mining in space is an option since Update 3.3. With the Prospector we can scan asteroids and break them into pieces.
Further down the line, the prospector should be able to drop its containers. Transport ships such as the Caterpillar can load the containers into their cargo holds using tractor beams and haul away the extracted resources, while the Prospector continues to mine rocks in the meantime.
Mining-Plattform Orion: From miner to industrial magnate
According to CIG, the current implementation of the mining profession is only the first and basic version. Back in February 2015, the developers published a detailed design concept for extensive mining gameplay. We will now introduce the concept briefly. Please remember, however, that the gameplay presented here may differ from the final implementation. We will update new information as soon as we receive it.
This concept includes, for example, large-scale scanning of asteroid fields in which the Orion mining platform can poach. This huge industrial ship will be about 170 meters long and capable of carrying over 16,000 SCU. The platform requires a crew of four to seven men to function properly. The most important roles for players (or NPCs, which will cost a lot of money) are planned as follows:
The Orion pilot of course ensures that the platform reaches a place where resources can be mined. Within asteroid fields he is responsible for navigating and positioning the ship without accidents. He will probably be able to somehow stabilize the Orion for the mining process to enable the beam operator to precisely control the mining laser. If necessary, the pilot can adjust the position of the platform so that the crew can find the best angle for the scan or mining process.
In this role, a player tries to find lucrative asteroids. For this purpose, he injects so-called RMAPs (Remote Material Analysis Packages) into the asteroids. The injection process is carried out by special rockets. To find a suitable injection point, the operator has to scan the surface of the asteroid.
Once he has found a suitable point and calculated the correct angle, a rocket is launched, which the scan operator must steer manually to the injection point. The material the asteroid is made of, the angle at which the missile strikes and the speed of impact determine whether or not an injection was successful. Successfully injected RMAPs then provide information about the composition of the asteroid.
The beam operator is responsible for controlling the mining lasers. There are several of them, which are attached to robot arms at the front of the Orion and can disassemble asteroids into handy pieces. Similar to what we know from the Prospector, the beam operator can manipulate the power of the mining lasers and control the energy supply. The player must pay extra attention to the composition of the asteroid: In addition to solid materials such as gold, copper, etc., gas inclusions or liquid resources are also supposed to be hidden in asteroids.
If the beam operator pushes massive amounts of energy into a gas pocket, the consequences can be quite explosive and therefore catastrophic. In addition to monitoring the energy supply, the beam operator also needs to be aware of seismic waves that may be triggered during the mining process and which can also lead to undesired chain reactions.
The cargo operator monitors the so-called entry port via a console on the ship’s bridge. There is a heavy crusher that shreds the fragments extracted from the asteroids and transfers them to the inside of the Orion. The fragments of rock entering the crusher are selected by the cargo operator himself using a special tractor beam system. He can identify the exact composition of the fragment and thus prioritize particularly lucrative fragments. A certain degree of skill is supposed to be necessary for the successful operation of the console and the tractor beam system.
This player serves the ship’s refinery. Raw ore is converted into refined material, which is then stored in Orion’s freight containers. Unwanted elements such as dust or worthless rock, on the other hand, can be blown out into space, which, in contrast to the current mining mechanics with the Prospector, saves considerable space and time.
The refinery operator has to guide the raw ore through a number of different processing plants. Operating errors in the finishing process can lead to equipment failures and the need for maintenance or ultimately to lower yields.
Production chains in Star Citizen: The road ahead
Mining in its small (for example with the Prospector) and large form (as planned with the Orion) should only be part of the economic cycle in Star Citizen in the future. Mining represents the beginning of a (possible!) production chain: This is where the raw material is extracted.
The mining ship itself or a transport ship takes over the first part of the logistics and delivers the material either to a refinery or (if the ship is equipped with a refinery) takes the refined materials directly to a factory that produces intermediate products (spaceship parts, weapon parts, attachments). Materials from refineries would of course also have to be delivered by transport ships to factories.
The intermediate products could then in turn be delivered to factories for end products, these end products in turn to stations or landing zones. This would create a very complex economic system in which demand and supply in each section of the production chain would enable a (at least partially) player-driven economy.
We also recommend our detailed article on the Squadron 42 roadmap, in which we discuss how the single player campaign is actually progressing.