Ice mining refers to the process of mining the asteroids in special Ore Site anomalies, commonly referred to as "Ice belts". These ice belts consist entirely of ice-type asteroids and can only be harvested with specific ice-mining equipment such as Ice Harvesters and Ice Mining Lasers, which can only be fit onto Mining Barges and Exhumers or Expedition Frigates respectively, and with Ice Harvesting Drones. Like the ore from normal asteroids, ice ore has no use on its own but can be reprocessed into raw materials which find use in crafting (Fuel Blocks for POS) or as fuel for capital ship jump drives, Entosis links and Cynosural field generators.
When mining ice, an ice-mining module will always yield a single block of ice ore per cycle, with a fixed volume of 1000 m³, independent of the type of ice that is being mined. Interrupting the mining cycle prematurely will result in no ice being mined at all. Therefore, the only way to increase overall ice-mining yield is to reduce the cycle times of the mining-module that is being used, either through the players skills and implants, the ships bonuses, ship equipment and modifications (Rigs) or through boosts from either an Industrial Command Ship or a Capital Industrial Ship.
|Attention Alpha clones!|
|Ice mining requires Omega clone status, since all ice-mining modules require the Ice Harvesting skill to operate them, which can not be trained on an Alpha clone.|
Ice Belt Anomalies
Ice belts are cosmic anomalies which can be located in your Probe Scanner menu. They are fully accessible at all times and do not need to be scanned down manually. Ice belts can spawn on all security level systems from High-Sec to Null-Sec and Wormholes. Unlike normal ore anomalies, ice belts do not spawn randomly across constellations and regions, but are fixed spawns and will always spawn in the same systems. Note that since ice belts are anomalies, they do not spawn in fixed locations like normal asteroid belts do, but instead they spawn at random locations across the system. Any system can have between 0 and 3 ice belt anomalies. If you want to find out if a system has an ice belt, you can check dotlan. If the system has a light-blue circle around it, it indicates that the system has at least one ice belt resident to it. The actual number of ice belts in a system and the type of ice that can be mined from it can also be seen in the system details.
Once an ice belt hast been depleted (mined out entirely) it will despawn and its signature will disappear from the Probe Scanner. It will respawn exactly 4 hours after it has been depleted in a new location inside the same system. Ice belts also respawn after the daily cluster-restart of Tranquility at 11:00 EVE time. If an ice belt has not been depleted before the daily restart, it will remain untouched and stay in its previous location. Ice belts that have been only partially mined out will stay for a couple of days (roughly 3-4 days) before they randomly despawn.
Types of Ice and Reprocessing
There are two different categories of ice ores, each with a number of different varieties. They are Isotope Ice and Non-Isotope Ice. The two categories are separated by the quantities of raw materials they yield when reprocessing them and in which security status they can appear in. The Isotope Ice variants can appear on all security levels, while the Non-Isotope ice variants commonly only spawn in Null-Sec and Wormhole space. Each of the four nations in the game has one type of Isotope Ice assigned to them. These variants only appear in systems belonging to the faction they are associated with. The associations are as follow:
- Amarr Empire -> Clear Icicle
- Minmatar Republic -> Glacial Mass
- Gallente Federation -> Blue Ice
- Caldari State -> White Glaze
One single block of ice always has a volume of exactly 1000 m³. Just like normal ore, ice can be compressed at any station or structure which has the compressing service installed/enabled. A compressed block of ice takes up 10% of the space, with only 100 m³ of volume, making it considerably easier to transport. There is no penalty when reprocessing ice which has been compressed, with a compressed block of ice and an uncompressed block of ice yielding exactly the same amount of raw materials.
While all ice ores yield the same 3 raw materials during reprocessing (Strontium Clathrates, Heavy Water and Liquid Ozone) Isotope Ice also yields one of 4 different gas isotopes (Hydrogen Isotopes, Nitrogen Isotopes, Helium Isotopes and Oxygen Isotopes) depending on the type of ice ore being reprocessed. While Non-Isotope Ice does not yield any gas isotopes, it generally yields much higher quantities of one of the three common raw materials, with one of them having a particularly high quantity, depending again on the type of ice ore being reprocessed. Also, the Isotope Ice asteroids can appear in a "large" variant, yielding a more potent form of their respective ice ore which yields higher quantities of raw materials when being reprocessed while the Non-Isotope Ice asteroids can only appear in their normal form. The respective reprocessing yields of all available ice types can be found in the table below, assuming a 60% reprocessing efficiency. If you want to calculate your exact reprocessing outcome in advance, you can use external reprocessing calculators like Eve Productions.
Ships and Equipment
Since ice counts as regular ore as well, it is able to be mined into a ships normal Ore Hold. In order to mine ice, your ship needs to be able to fit one of the required ice-harvesting modules or it needs to be able to launch Ice Harvesting Drones. This means, it is generally not possible to mine ice with a Venture. However, all larger mining ships, such as Mining Barges, Exhumers and Expedition Frigates can equip some form of ice harvesting module. In addition, Industrial Command Ships such as the Porpoise, Orca, and the Rorqual are capable of launching Ice Mining Drones and can therefore also be used for ice mining.
Just like with normal ore mining, there are two main types of ice mining modules. Ice Mining Lasers, which are the ice mining equivalent of the normal Mining Lasers for common ore, and Ice Harvesters, which are the the equivalent of the Strip Miners for common ore. Also, just like with their normal mining counterparts, lasers can only be fit to frigate-sized ships, while harvesters can only be fit to Barges and Exhumers. However, contrary to the Tech II version of the Strip Miner (the Modulated Strip Miner), the Tech II version of the Ice Harvester does not need any special form of ammunition or crystals to be operated efficiently.
It is important to note that any ice harvesting module, be it lasers, harvesters or drones, will always yield exactly 1 block of ice per cycle. If the modules cycle gets interrupted prematurely for any reason, no ice will be mined at all. The amount of ice blocks mined per cycle can not be raised by any means. Therefore, the only way to increase ice-mining yield is by reducing the cycle times of the modules. Aside from the related ship bonuses and the players related ship-skills, there are ship equipments, ship modifications (Rigs) and implants which can reduce your ice harvesting modules base cycle times.
Other options to decrease your cycle times are boosts from mining in a fleet, together with a ships that is able to equip special modules, called Mining Foreman Burst I / II. These modules are mainly used on Industrial Command Ships such as the Porpoise, Orca, and the Rorqual but can be equipped by some other classes of ships as well. Mining Foreman Burst modules use special charges (think ammunition) to provide certain boosts to all ships in fleet that are within range when the module is cycled. The most important one is the Mining Laser Optimization Charge, which reduced capacitor usage and cycle times of any mining module by 15% or 18.75% for the T1 and T2 variants of the the Mining Foreman Burst module, respectively. The two other kinds of charges that exist for the Mining Foreman Burst modules are Mining Laser field enhancement charges, which increase the maximum range of mining modules, and Mining equipment preservation charges which reduce the degradation of Mining Crystals when being used.
Making ISK from Ice Mining and Production
With the latest developments (YC119) prices for normal ores and their minerals have seen a substantial drop in market prices. This makes ice mining more profitable in comparison to normal ore mining, even for players with low mining skills, even in High-Sec space. If you are able to mine Non-Isotope Ice in Null-Sec, the spectrum shifts even more strongly into favor of ice mining, due to the generally high market prices of the Non-Isotope Ice ores. A player with high mining skill points and access to Non-Isotope Ice ores to mine can easily earn 2x more ISK than by mining normal ore for the same time, even when mining nothing but Mercoxit! (The most valuable type of normal ore)
However, keep in mind that the potential to earn ISK from mining is always directly related to the demands and market prices of the raw materials that are gained from reprocessing ores! Always keep informed, either through web-services, such as https://ore.cerlestes.de or through the use of external tools, such as EVE ISK Per Hour.
To turn your mined ice ores into ISK, you can either sell the ice ore directly (for example, to the Zansha Expansion Buyback Program), or reprocess it and sell the raw materials. Keep in mind, though, that reprocessing will effectively lose you ISK in the process if you don't have decent reprocessing skills. If your Ice Processing skill is not at least III, you should refrain from reprocessing your ice ore by yourself and trade the ores directly.
Another possibility to increase your profit from ice mining is the production of Fuel Blocks. Fuel Blocks are required to operate any player-owned-structures, such as Control Towers (the original POS's), Citadels and Engineering Complexes. Fuel blocks come in four different variations, one for each type of isotopes that can be gained from reprocessing ice, and there is a different blueprint for each type of fuel block. While control towers require the type of fuel block with the isotope that is assigned to their nation (e.g.: Gallente needs Oxygen Fuel Blocks, Amarr needs Helium Fuel Blocks, etc.), Citadels and Engineering Complexes can run off any sort of fuel block.
In order to produce fuel blocks, you will need some amounts of all the raw materials that come from reprocessing ice ore, plus a certain number of materials that are created from Planetary Interaction (PI). All four of the different kinds of fuel blocks need exactly the same amounts of materials. Only the type of isotope gas that is being used differs. For each single run of a fuel block blueprint, 40 fuel blocks will be produced at once. Here are the base-level materials needed to produce 40 helium fuel blocks, based on an unresearched blueprint:
Tips and Tricks
In order to mine safely and efficiently, there are a few things to know. Here is a list of some tips and tricks that might be valuable for you to know when mining ice, especially in dangerous space.
- Ganks happen. Even in High-Sec! Never go AFK while mining.
- When mining in High-Sec, don't be afraid of asking for a fleet invite in local! Most High-Sec miners are very friendly and willing to share their boosts.
- Mining-Boosts in a fleet are always worth it!
- Always compress your ore, when possible! There are no downsides to it. Only benefits.
- Never reprocess your ore unless you need the material. The raw materials gained from reprocessing are MUCH larger than the ice itself and quickly get a pain to move around.
- Just like in normal ore belts, Rats can spawn in ice belts too! Either have drones and enough tank + firepower, or have friends that can help.
- Mining in a fleet might feel safer, but keep in mind that mining ships are sitting ducks. And a whole flock of ducks attracts a lot of predators.
- Always move away from the Warp-In point of your belt! The extra seconds it takes a neut to get in range WILL safe your ship more than once.
- If in a corp, keep a close eye on the Intel! Or even better, be in comms.
- Orbiting a rock while mining is generally a bad idea. If the rock depletes, your ship will drift off into space.
- Shorter cycle times (almost) always trump having more harvesters, in case you need to interrupt your cycles.
- When mining in dangerous space, the Endurance (Expedition Frigate) is the best solo-ice-mining ship in the game. Period.