Before we get started on Core Mining, make sure that you have read and understand the Laser Mining Guide section as Core mining may come off as confusing if you are not well versed in some of the mining basics.
To be an effective core miner, there are 3 things that are going to shave more and more time off of each of your runs:
- Adept Abrasion Blaster Use
Speed is going to be your number 1 contributing factor in the amount of time a run is going to take. Sometimes, depending on RNG, the distance between 2 cores can cover +40km. Being able to cover that distance as fast as possible makes the job much easier.
Maneuverability is a key part of core mining because after the core gets blown, you are going to have to navigate with your thrusters through debris in order to get the surface deposits of the core that are left over. Anything maneuvering to slow or that can’t stop quickly can easily become a liability.
Adept Abrasion Blaster Use may sound simple, but depending on hardpoint placement, it can affect your ability to target surface deposits. (Tip) if your left side Abrasion Blaster can’t seem to hit the target. Roll 180degrees to put the AB on the right hand side and try again.
This is probably the most frustrating part of core mining for new core miners, and I’ll be honest, core mining has a steep learning curve. However, once you master identifying cores, your core mining runs will take minutes instead of hours.
There are many things to look out for when identifying cores:
- False Positives
- Asteroid Shape
- Pulse Wave Analyzer Overlay
- Fissure Identification
- Icy Rings
False Positives are asteroids that show up as bright yellow just like cores, but are instead not cores. A good way to weed out all the false positives is to look at their relative size compared to the other asteroids. Asteroids come in small, medium, and large sizes. Your “False Positives” are almost always small asteroids. If you see a very large depression like the one in the picture here, I can guarantee it is a false positive.
The Pulse Wave Analyzer (PWA) Overlay will show you cores, usually, in bright yellow. But sometimes other asteroids seem to be yellow too, but you can tell a core from a different asteroid by the color scaling.
If the asteroid starts to get a gray tint like the above picture, it is definitely not a core. A core should have bright, vibrant colors no matter how close or far you are.
Color schemes are hard to identify with the PWA. Depending on the type of star and the brightness of that star, the color scheme will change ever so slightly. Cores under a F-class star could register green or black where you see red in this picture. Whereas it may register as yellow orange from an M-class Star. Odyssey fixed this somewhat where the PWA now registers almost exclusively yellow for cores regardless.
In both game versions, Brown Dwarves give the best contrast for core mining.
Asteroid Shape is another tool core miners use to help identify cores. Truth be told, FDev uses the exact same shape for the same type of core. So, a Monazite core asteroid will have the exact same shape as another Monazite asteroid in the same ring type. I used Rocky Rings for the pictures here and if you look closely, the two Monazite asteroids look identical. I.e. (The above yellow and red picture and the gray picture here)
If you are still unsure about whether or not an asteroid is a core, try using Fissure Identification. This process just requires getting close to an asteroid and checking for fissure marks on it. The fissure marks present themselves as distinct cracks. They are very easy to identify in Rocky Rings, but are much more difficult to identify in Metallic/Metal Rich Rings. Each core asteroid should have at least 10 fissures. Try to identify 2 before you waste your limpets. Filling up entirely becomes increasingly difficult as your limpets dwindle.
Icy Rings tend to be the toughest to core run. Not only do they have Bromellite cores which sell at about 120k cr/t, it also has larger false positives. From a distance, Bromellite, Void Opal, and Low Temperature Diamond core asteroids look surprisingly similar in shape.
Popping Asteroids Effectively
It goes without saying that this tends to get frustrating at first, but becomes much easier after the first few times. The main things to focus on with this is:
- Fissure Strength
- Charge Strength
- Charge Placement
- Spacial Awareness
- Abrasion Blaster Clean Up
Alright, so you’ve identified a core and launched a prospector limpet. What’s next? Best thing to do is to check the nearby fissures for their Fissure Strength. This will help us gauge how strong a charge we want to use from the Seismic Charge Launcher. In the bottom left hand corner, the targeted fissure tells you its strength level. There are three (Low, Average, High).
When you know the Fissure Strength, you need to gauge the Charge Strength. The two sets of green lines on the HUD in the above picture tell you the level of charge the Seismic Charge Launcher has. Once your first charge lands, you have 120sec to get the Detonation Yield Range in the blue. If you have changed your HUD colors or are visually impared, the 5th and 6th line from the bottom are the lines you need to have filled to get an acceptable pop.
Be careful though if you go into the red like this you can lose out on a 10-15 fragment haul including 8-12 surface deposits. Instead, if you overcharge the asteroid, you’ll get 4 fragments and maybe 3-4 surface deposits.
If you do overcharge, don’t worry, you can Disarm Charge in the Contacts menu. It takes 10sec to disarm and renders the fissure unusable. Keep in mind that you charge the asteroid based on feel. If you have a high strength fissure and it is on the cusp of blue, you might want a tiny charge to push it over the edge.
Charge Placement is also key. Putting charges in balanced positions can affect the fragment outcome. So try not to place all charges right next to each other. (Also, having a tiny bit of red in the Detonation Yield won’t affect the outcome much) Once you reach optimal Detonation Yield, you need to move away from the core about 1.5km. To speed up the detonation, go to Contacts and then choose Detonate Now which will change the timer to 10sec for all charges.
Spacial Awareness is very important with core mining as asteroid fragments from a popped core can litter the area. Some are much smaller than your ship, but will still damage shields or hull. This is why most core miners fly with shields. Also, knowing where the large asteroid fragments are and how they are spinning is very important and can be deadly if not careful. A good rule is run with night vision on to see the asteroid fragments within the dust cloud.
Abrasion Blaster Clean Up is the last step. You should try and get every surface deposit because they are all the same as the core. Your ejected fragments are usually +85%, but your surface deposits can range from +20% – 60%. Effectively popped asteroids should refine between 12-18t of the core mineral/metal.
Core Mining Tips & Tricks
- System Reserve Levels (Depleted, Common, Major, Pristine) will affect the quality of the fragments where you mine. However, cores are not affected by this. You’ll find the same number and same quality of core in a Depleted as a Pristine.
- Wing core mining is bugged. It will cause abrasion fragments to appear 5k from the point of contact when your wingmate is close by (5km or less).
- There are those that believe that overlaps “Don’t Matter”, however, the consistency of the hotspot ore type is increased significantly as well as your ability to find cores that are less than 5km from each other. There is evidence that the quality of the overlap (slight overlap vs a major overlap) can truely affect outcomes.
- There is what is known as a “Perfect Pop”. This is the most balanced placed charges coupled with the right amount of charge. I will cause both blue lines in Detonation Yield to be solid blue without any yellow, red, or blue discrepancy. This will yield about 23 ejected fragments and +12 surface deposits. They are extremely rare.