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Mining in Aurora refers to the extraction of TN Minerals. Mining is the cornerstone of any Empire, whether single-planet or a thousand star systems. Without minerals, it is impossible to construct anything at all, so it is important to manage your mining correctly.
Minerals can be found on Asteroids, Comets, Moons, Gas Giants and Planets. Planets are usually the best sources for minerals, but most Gas Giants and Super-Jovians are excellent repositories of Sorium.
Before you can start mining you have to find minerals first. Only an estimated 5% of all bodies contain minerals. The initial survey is always conducted from orbit. By later assigning Geology Teams to a body you can sometimes find more minerals or improve their accessibility.
There are several ways to find out which bodies have been surveyed and what has been found:
- selecting "Show Surveyed Bodies" from the Minerals tab in the system map window. Here you can also see how much mineral reserves have been found, and their accessibility (i.e. possible mining rate).
- going to the System View window (F9): the first column shows either nothing (not surveyed yet), an "S" (surveyed but nothing found) or "M" (minerals present).
- the Geological Survey Report window provides a search function for minerals you've discovered.
Finally, the Summary tab of the Population & Production window tells you whether a geo-team search on the colony has been completed yet.
There are various mining systems:
While colonization might seem to be the cheapest way to mine a world, keep in mind that
- hostile environments (i.e. high colony cost-worlds) require large amounts of infrastructure, and
- the percentage of colonists working in the Agriculture and Environmental sector goes up with increasing colony cost, too, meaning that on hostile worlds very few people might be available for working in your mines.
Ground-based Automated Mines, where robots do all the work but are twice as expensive. Automines are the preferred option when colonization is impossible or would be too expensive.
Ships with Asteroid Mining Modules, which are ship-mounted automines that work only on asteroids and comets. Expensive, but large fleets of Asteroid Miners can make short work of an Asteroid Belt. Their mobility is also a plus.
To begin asteroid mining, simply create a ship with at least one mining module, create a mining colony on a suitable asteroid (via the System View, F9, or a right click on the body within the system map) and move the ship there. On the summary page for the colony, a new entry labeled "Orbital Mines" will appear.
Asteroid Mining Strategies
Depending on what ships you have constructed, there are a number of ways to organize asteroid mining:
- Use mining ships without cargo holds to extract minerals and then collect the ores with freighters.
- Use mining ships with enough cargo capacity to take away the minerals once the asteroid begins to deplete.
- Use larger mining ships with enough cargo capacity to move a mass driver, a few mining ships can then use their mass drivers to move mining output to a single location within a system for easy collection.
Tip: If your asteroid miners are not mining, it may be because you sent them to a moon or planet, not an asteroid.
Caution: If you have a group of asteroid miners or harvesters working in orbit, don't send new ships to join that task group. You must send ships to the asteroid or planet first, then tell them to join the task group, otherwise their mining rate won't be added to the total. The same applies to terraformers, orbital habitats and maintenance vessels.
Ships with Sorium Harvester Modules, which extract Sorium from gas giants or Super-Jovians and convert it directly into fuel to fill their tanks. The raw Sorium cannot be gathered. This is the only type of mine that can be used on a Gas Giant.
Extracted minerals are stored on the planet. See the Population and Production window for an explanation of the Mining Report.
Mass Drivers are the easiest way to transport minerals within a system.
One point of cargo space in freighters holds two tons of minerals.
Civilian administrator boni
Many civilian administrators possess a Mining Bonus skill (between 5% and sometimes over 40%), which is directly applied to the mining rate.
If you have a Sector Command, the sector administrator applies a quarter of his mining skill to all colonies within the sector.
Minerals Quantity & Accessibility
Every world has a chance to contain some of the TN-Elements, each with a specific quantity and rated at a level of accessibility between 0.1 and 1, which dictates how quickly the mineral can be harvested with any given quantity of mining equipment. Very massive planets are likely to have large number of minerals available at very high quantities but low accessibility, while smaller worlds, moons and asteroids are progressively more likely to have fewer minerals at higher levels of accessibility.
Minerals Accessibility value is multiplied by your annual mining rate to give the total amount for that mineral that you can mine. So if your mining rate is 12 tons/year and the accessibility of a mineral is 0.5, you will mine 6 tons/year.
For planets and moons, if a mineral's accessibility is greater than 0.1 it will begin to fall once you have mined out half the mineral. The accessibility will reach 0.1 shortly before the mineral deposit is exhausted
This spreadsheet contains a workbook which can be used to estimate the total extraction rate average over a planet's useful lifetime.
Technologies for mining
- Mining Production - from 10 tons per mine annually to 70 tons
- Fuel Production - affects Harvesters
- Asteroid Mining Module
- Sorium Harvester