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Mining - Everything you wanted to know


This article deals with mining minerals from planetary surfaces through the use of mining complexes. While there are other methods of getting minerals including buying them and exploiting unusual phenomena discovered through exploration and investigation, these methods of obtaining minerals are not covered here.

A mineral deposit consists of ore in localised amounts sufficiently large and associated with common minerals such that the can be recognised from orbit. They also need to be accessible such that they can be extracted through the use of a mining complex.

A mining complex is little more than a surface shaver that draws in rocks, grinds them down and extracts the ore then processes it in order to become material suitable for use in factories. Beyond a few unusual compounds the specific minerals that form the common ore groups are not specified in order to keep the game playable. As such all the common metals such as iron, magnesium, nickel, copper etc are simply defined as metals. Basic elements on the other hand include many salts and compounds that have greater commercial value in this form rather than reducing them down to metals and non-metals. The same is true of hydrocarbons. This item covers everything from methane right up to crude oils. Unusual minerals that can be used interchangeably in industry are also given a name. Pulac, representing an unusual highly energetic mineral, though like the colour of sapphires, comes in many shades on account of trace minerals within the matrix, though white is the most common variety. While most minerals can in theory be created in laboratories, the cost is phenomenally expensive consequently it is cheaper to send survey ships to distant worlds looking to build outposts to mine them directly from the surface.

Tapping a new source of minerals involves three steps:

  • Finding a world where the mineral is present
  • Determine its location and exploitability
  • Construction of Outpost

Advancing on this there are further options:
  • Decide on mining method
  • Determine if there are sub-deposits
  • Modify deposit parameters through use of technology

Finding a world where the mineral is present through Geological Probability Indicators (GPI’s)
Scanning the surface of a world (‘GPI Planet’ order) from orbit accumulates data on the surface surface geology. Ground penetrating scans also determine what lies below to some degree, which is useful if the surface happens to be covered in ocean, desert or vegetation. This data is then analysed and assayed for the probability of useful minerals existing in the rock matrix close to the surface. Iron oxides for example clearly indicate the presence of iron. For rarer minerals however direct observation of the mineral may not be possible. Diamonds for example are predicted by the detection of kimberlite, ancient volcanic lava pipes.

The technology used by both the sensors and the analysis of the generated data means that quite often the GPI data is sufficient to determine whether the construction of a mining outpost is justified. This is accounted for by the +/- range of the GPI results in a specific sector.

GPI a planet gives the average yield across the entire planet:
    Scanning for all ores:
Metals (1) Yield = 42.87 +- 11.14
Basic Elements (2) Yield = 29.36 +- 11.14
Hydrocarbons (3) Yield = 12.75 +- 11.14
Thorlium (20) Yield = 12.21 +- 11.14
Rare Earth Elements (22) Yield = 7.02 +- 11.14

Planetary data however is not particularly useful as an average for the entire planet could mean a lot of poor deposits or a few extremely good deposits.
If any of these are some use, it may then be worth either GPI’ing areas or every single sector starting with {1,1}:

   GPI Sector {1,1}
Scanning for all ores:
Metals (1) Yield = 141.25 +- 5.01
Basic Elements (2) Yield = 11.06 +- 5.01
Hydrocarbons (3) Yield = 3.18 +- 5.01
Thorlium (20) Yield = 7.67 +- 5.01

In this case sector {1,1} does not contain any Rare Earth Elements (22) though they showed up on the planetary GPI scan. It also indicates that as Basic Elements (2) and Hydrocarbons (3) are both well below the average for the world, there are none of these deposits within a few sectors.

Note that when determining the average mineral yield for a sector, it accounts for world wrapping east to west.
N.B. it follows though that a scan planet of an asteroid (1x1) should net effectively the same results as GPI Sector {1,1}.

Determine mineral location and exploitability
As alluded to in the above comment, a mineral deposit exists in a specific sector but can be mined from adjacent sectors. From the data obtained through GPI’ing it is possible to work out the maximums and narrow down where on the planet the actual deposit is situated.

In order to actually exploit a mineral deposit its unique resource ID number is needed. This is used when assigning mines. Getting this number can be achieved via two methods. The first is through prospecting, while the other is by bypassing this stage and simply building an outpost. This is because an outpost will list all the resource ID numbers in the mining report of the manifest. The drawback with this method is that at this stage only the yield of the deposit is known. Prospecting reveals other parameters that govern the exploitability of the deposit.
Example Pulac deposit

    Pulac (21) detected (Resource ID = 25356)
Yield: 56.24
10% Drop: 8
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 41%
Deep Core Survey: No Sites

Yield is the maximum normal amount of mineral that is extracted per mine per week.
While the quantity of mines assigned to the deposit is less than the 10% drop, each mine will produce the yield. The next multiple of the 10% drop will produce 90% of the yield per mine; the third multiple will produce 80% of the yield per mine.

The quantity refers to how many mu’s of mineral exist in the deposit. This can be somewhat misleading where it is stated as infinite as this indicates that there is at least 20 years of mineral exploitation based on extracting the mineral at about 5 times the 10% drop in quantity of mines. In the above case there is therefore more than 2.5 million mu’s(=20years x 52weeks x 56.24 x 8 x 5).

Dispersion indicates the size of the deposit in adjacent sectors. Multiple sectors separation from the origin is calculated as the dispersion raised to the power of the distance multiplied by the yield, e.g. if 3 sectors the yield for the above deposit will be equal to 3.88(=56.24 x 0.41 x 0.41 x 0.41).

Deep core survey indicates the potential chance that the deposit will have further deposits in the subsurface as explained below.
The example above is not the full picture as all that can be stated is that this is the yield of the deposit in this sector. It could in theory (though unlikely with this yield) that the origin of the deposit is adjacent to this sector and that this yield represents only 59% of the original yield.

Typical Deposits
The table below gives the generic mineral stats for deposits. Note that worlds with weathering such terrestrial worlds often have much lower averages than those described below while active worlds where fresh ores are deposited on the surface through tectonic events are likely to have both greater variety of ores and better statistics (though system created before conversion from BSE to Phoenix rarely follow this logic).


Ore Type Yield 10% Drop Stock Dispersion
Common 95-140 20 5M 50%
Uncommon 36-44 10 1M 50%
Rare 9-12 5 100k 50%


Ore Type Yield 10% Drop Stock Dispersion
Common 100-140 20 5M 50%
Uncommon 32-48 10 1M 50%
Rare 11-15 5 100k 50%

The yield range equates to the world classification with increasing average yields descending down the list:
  • Terrestrial
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Dust
  • Crust
  • Cratered
  • Broken
  • Active

Construction of Outpost
Once an outpost has been constructed and mines built, it is simply a case of assigning them to the appropriate mineral resource through the use of the Mine order. Obviously there is absolutely no point in assigning more than ten times the 10% drop to a single mineral deposit and rarely worth assigning more than 5 times the 10% drop.

Decide on mining method
The yield of a deposit represents the standard method of mining. This is the most efficient method, balancing loss of mineral in the slag against the amount of mineral extracted while keeping the operation to a low visibility. There are however alternative methods of extraction.
Strip Mining
The deposit is blasted to pieces with no regard to the location. This method increases yield by focusing the richer areas of the deposit. Poorer areas become part of the slag and as a consequence the stockpile is reduced faster than the amount of ore extracted. The process produces large easily identifiable scars on the landscape and increases base visibility. The process makes deep coring more difficult and has additional environmental effects.

  • +50% yield
  • +5/mine environmental effect (these will be coded later)
  • +2/mine to excavation of deep core sites
  • -25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 125m)
  • Mines are 100% visible rather than 10%

Drift Mining
The lines of the deposit are carefully excavated to search for more of the ore. The slag is also further processed in order to remove trace amounts of mineral from bedrock. This extra effort increases deposit size available but reduces yield.

  • -10% Yield
  • +25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 80mu)

Open Cast
A large but considered hole is excavated over the deposit in order to allow more mines at the various work faces. This method increases deposit size and 10% drop but makes more visible from space. It also makes deep coring more difficult and has additional environmental effects. [/FONT]
  • +1/mines environmental effect
  • +1/mines to excavation of deepcore
  • +50% to 10% drop size
  • +25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 80mu)
  • Mines are 100% visible rather than 10%

Determine if there are sub-deposits
Mention has been made in the above mining methods of deep core mining. The nature of geology is that rock strata rare run smoothly across the surface. Often minerals exist in strata that has been folded through tectonic upheavals and exists in segments of faulted terrain. What was once a single mineral strata laid down on a seabed million of years ago may now be fragmented into multiple fragments, some of which are at the surface but others may be hundreds of metres underground as one side of the fault was raised up and the other pushed down. Part of the strata may even have been turned through ninety degrees so that only a thin line of the mineral is present at the surface.

As a consequence it is possible to investigate a surface deposit and determine if there are subsurface deposits that can be deep core mined. A Deep Core Scan can be conducted from orbit and gives details regarding the world:
    Scanning Garrius (680) for likely deep core results.
Using best equipment and a skilled officer: Unlikely -> Assured deposits
Using basic equipment and no officer: No Sites -> Excellent deposits

The order of likelihood is as follows from least to most: No Sites, Unlikely, Possible, Moderate, Good, Excellent or Assured.
    Rare Earth Elements (22) detected (Resource ID = 3828)
Yield: 43.58
10% Drop: 10
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 46%
Deep Core Survey: Unlikely

The deep core survey is based on the prospecting skill of the officer and survey equipment present.
    Deep Coring Rare Earth Elements (22) deposit (ID = 3828):
Prospecting Skill: +0
Survey Equipment Level: +1
No deep core sites discovered.
Basic Survey Rig (2325) expended during deep core survey.

The same site can be scanned again if the skill officer improves or better survey equipment is available. This may give an improved result.
    Deep Coring Rare Earth Elements (22) deposit (ID = 3828):
Prospecting Skill: +4
Survey Equipment Level: +2
Deep Core Deposits:
Rare Earth Elements (22) detected (Sub ID = 1)
Yield: 41.01
10% Drop: 10
Quantity: 1144837
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 156 mine weeks
Survey Rig mkII (2326) expended during deep core survey.

Where the likelihood of a deep core deposit is high, the possibility of multiple deposits exist.
    Metals (1) detected (Resource ID = 32471)
Yield: 178
10% Drop: 24
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 54%
Deep Core Survey: Excellent
Deep Coring Metals (1) deposit (ID = 32471):
Prospecting Skill: +4
Survey Equipment Level: +2
Deep Core Deposits:
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 1)
Yield: 176.7
10% Drop: 20
Quantity: 5800674
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 215 mine weeks
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 2)
Yield: 201.84
10% Drop: 26
Quantity: 5713075
Instability: Minor
Excavation: 581 mine weeks
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 3)
Yield: 207.84
10% Drop: 30
Quantity: 6098171
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 219 mine weeks
Survey Rig mkII (2326) expended during deep core survey.

Deep core mining can only use the standard mining method.

Note that all deep core deposits have an excavation parameter. This is how many mine weeks have to be used in order to reach the subsurface deposit. In the above example, if sub ID 3 wanted to be exploited (as it by far the best), 219 mine-weeks have to used in order to reach the deposit. This is simply achieved by assigning mines to the deposit then each maintenance day rather than producing minerals, the excavation time will be reduced by the number of mines assigned (10% drop does not apply). Note that no ore is produced if the mine is still deep coring. If 50 mines are assigned, then in the 5 week, 31 mines though not deep coring, will not produce minerals. Also note that each mine week also require 1 structural module which is automatically removed from the base (lowest mk used first). If insufficient modules are present, the amount of excavation conducted will be reduced appropriately.

Stability refers the possibility of an event occurring during maintenance if the subsurface deposit is being exploited. At this time, this code is not active so there are no dangers.

Modify deposit parameters through use of technology
Surface and subsurface deposits can be modified through the use of technology. For the technology to be used it needs to be tooled in the base where the deposit is being exploited. In many cases where a deposit is upgraded there will be a downside to the modification such that if a deposit is modified in such a way so as to improve its stockpile at the cost of its yield, using further tech to improve its yield at the cost of stockpile will may not be sufficient to generate an overall improvement. As with subsurface deposits described above, all upgrades have an excavation time. This catch-all term simply indicates how many mine-weeks it will take to implement the technological upgrade.

Blueprint Upgrades
Blueprints give modest improvements in a chosen area but suffer from negatives in other areas. Note that these modifiers are based on the weighted average values for the type of mineral and not the specific mineral deposit itself.

Blueprint Yield Stockpile 10% Drop Dispersion Excavation Weeks
Localised Mineral Extraction (10016) 10% -8% -5% -12%300
Planetesimal Exploitation (7005) -25% 5% - -100
Geological Mapping (7029) -5% 2% - 20%450
Hydrothermal Vein Mapping (7030) -5% -10% 15% 10%250
Deep Core Sampling (7021) - 2% -10% -20%150
Volcano Analysis (7022) 2% - -10% -15%250
Fault Analysis (7010) - 5% -30% 10%100

Tech Upgrades
Techs are more expensive and require longer tool times but their advantage is that they give better results. Multiple techs can even be used in conjunction to offset most penalties though the loss of weeks while upgrading for all but the largest mines can make this a somewhat pointless.

Tech Yield Stockpile 10% Drop Dispersion Excavation Weeks
Specialist Mineral Extraction (8508) -15% 30% - -250
Mining (8650) 20% 10% -20% -200
Excavation(8660) -5% 5% 40% 15%450
Seismology (8719) -5% 10% 20% 15%200
Hydrothermal Analysis(8722) -10% 5% 20% 20%100
Volcanology(8721) 20% 5% -5% -15%200

Example of using Planetesimal Exploitation on a Collidium deposit.

| Collidium (31)                        97241     8.205     5         126667   |
| |
|-Mining Report----------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| 0 available mines |
| |
| 16 Collidium (31) Normal 97241 117 |

Upgrading Collidium (31) deposit:
5.46 (-2.75) Yield
131667 (+5000) Stockpile
100 (+100) mine weeks excavation
Planetesimal Exploitation (7005) has been exhausted and removed from your

Rare ores have an average stockpile of 100,000mu
| Collidium (31) {100 m.w.}             97241     5.455     5         131667   |
| |
|-Mining Report----------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| 0 available mines |
| |
| 16 Collidium (31) Normal 97241 0 |

N.B. Very rare ores cannot be upgraded.

Is open for business...
***** Inter Galactic News THE MUSICAL *****

*** Norozov, No More ***

Kantner: No more do I see the starlight caress your cyclops eye
No more feel the tender kisses we used to share
I close my fists and clearly my heart remembers
A thousand goodbyes could never put out the embers

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Chulainn: Oh all the Stellars mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Kantner: No more do I feel the touch of your hand on mine
No more see the love-light making your dark eyes shine
Oh, how I wish I never had caused you sorrow
But don't ever say for us there is no tomorrow

Chulainn: Oh all the ladies mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before.

Lanner: So, old cyclops has finally met his comeuppance
Maybe its time for a comeback

Chorus: No, no one wants you back!

Lanner: I always did like that chair of his…

Chorus: The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!

Continued in this special edition of the SSS...

***** Inter Galactic News *****


FILTHY AND DISHONOURABLE Dewiek mercenaries have dared to attack HONEST AND HARDWORKING GTT warships in the Coptuv system.


The Dewiek commander’s lengthy response was appreciated by xenophile and philanthropist HQ Manager Tom Krieger but this does not change the facts.



***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Voice of the Naplian Liberation Front ***

We are the Naplian Liberation Front. We have commandeered this station to bring you important and vital deprogramming. You are a slave of the Galactic Trouser and Tussles Imperium of Unspecified Services! We have witnessed the press ganged upon by Imperial thugs. Rounding up reporters by the thousands and throwing them in weasel dens. Mocking the Great Uncle of the Flagritz. Manufacturing consent out of a lust for imports of wheat cereals! We poor Naplians(*) are given no training and substandard equipment when preparing your nutritious breakfasts. We are sent forward by the Imperial snack commissioners with threats of triple-filing tax returns on unreasonable deadlines! Death would be preferable. We are allegedly paid a wage but have you ever tried to buy anything with just $1? Strangely none of those politicals earning $10,000 or more a week seem to care about our plight. Not to mention that the Imperials throw perfectly good meat into the grinder instead of slow cooking it in black bean sauce. They have no respect for a classic burrito! We are left grieving for young families who have never tasted quality ranch sauce. You don’t need to be a dead Naplian to know the value of a good guacamole.

* No actual Naplians included.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT vs USN * GTT vs NLF * GTT vs IND * GTT vs KAS * GTT vs FET * GTT vs SSS * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire On Warpath ***

The newly re-united Stellar Empire continued to wage war against the Flagritz Empire to bring about galactic peace and freedom for all. The latest system to fall to the inevitable tide of history was Morroglyph in the Coreward Arm. Dewiek intransigence reached fever pitch as the FLZ facilities changed to DEN paws and subsequently became targets of Imperial truth and justice. Despite putting themselves between the past and the future, the DEN seemed to lack much will for an actual fight with Dewiek military commanders adopting “meh” as their watchword.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT smacks NLF * DEN whack MRC * Slaves Liberated * FLZ Retreat * ARC in Orion Spur * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***

A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***

Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.

We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.

Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Hoedown in Graydown ***

Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.

Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***

The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.

The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.

"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.

"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”

Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc


Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).