[Top 7] EVE Online Best Mining Ships From Early To Late Game

Athanor fracking an extracted moon chunk


EVE: Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and there’s no doubt the game has earned the right to each of those titles. Nearly all of the ships, structures, modules, and consumables found in-game, plus the ammunition and fuels that power them, were manufactured by individual players. 

So how do the industrial groups of EVE get all the raw materials for the sheer volumes they produce?

The answer: A lot of mining.

Mining ships in EVE are ship classes specialized for extraction of the raw ores, ice, and gases that serve as the lifeblood of all things in EVE. They’re usually bonused for mining efficiency and have large, specialized cargo bays for hauling your space rocks. 

Choosing the right ship for the job is important as it can drastically affect the efficiency, risk, and enjoyability of your mining experience.

 

1. Venture (early game)

Pair of Ventures in an asteroid belt

The Venture is the entry-level mining Frigate. Its low skill requirements and affordable price makes it a very attractive choice to new capsuleers looking to dip their toes into the field.

The Venture can field mining lasers and gas cloud scoops, although the latter is restricted to Omega status clones.

Although the Venture is (expectedly) one of the weakest ships in terms of both mining and defense, it serves as a great entry point for new players. Once players have saved enough money and trained the skills for a Barge though, it’s usually better to switch to that bigger mining ship.

Stats:

  • Turret hardpoints: 2
  • Module slots: 3 high, 3 medium, 1 low, 3 rigs (small)
  • Bonuses per level of Mining Frigate: +5% to yield per Mining level, -5% to Gas Cloud Scoop cycle time
  • Flat Bonuses: +100% to mining and gas harvesting yield, +2 to ship warp core strength

Venture Strengths:

  • Low cost: disposable and easy to replace, allowing for mining in riskier areas, such as Low-Security space
  • Early Skills: not many skills are required to pilot the Venture and its mining modules
  • Mobility: as a frigate, the Venture has one of the better agility and velocity stats of the mining ships in EVE
  • Rorquals: the Venture can light an Industrial Cynosural Field for the jump drives of some capital ships, especially the Rorqual, to lock onto.

Hull cost: 400K ISK (Jita)

Recommended drone layouts: 

  • 2x Mining Drone
  • 2x Light Combat Drone

 

2. Covetor (early game)

Covetors in front of a mining base

The Covetor is one of three Tech I mining barges available in EVE: Online. 

In addition to its ore mining equipment, it also gains the ability to mount Ice Harvesters for mining the glaciers and ice chunks that spawn throughout New Eden.

The Covetor is very much a ship for the active player, having one of the highest mining speeds of any ship in EVE: Online. That’s bested by its own Tech II variant, the Hulk, which sacrifices even more to polarize towards a greater mining speed.

To balance, the Covetor has the smallest ore bay of the barges, so expect frequent stops to the nearest station to drop off your hauls. 

Its weak defense stats also make it susceptible to attacks and ganks, so newer players without support from friends and corp-mates should stay in High Security space. Have a plan for dealing with pirates too!

Note that unlike the Venture, the mining barges use Strip Miners, not Mining Lasers.

Stats:

  • Use up to 2 Strip Miners, Ice Harvesters, or Gas Cloud Scoops
  • Module slots: 2 high, 2 medium, 3 low, 3 rigs (medium)
  • Bonuses per level of Mining Barge: +3% to strip mining yield, -3% to Ice and Gas Harvester cycle times, +6% to ore miner and ice harvester ranges
  • Flat Bonuses: -30% to Ice and Gas Harvester cycle times, -25% to Strip Miner cycle time and capacitor activation cost

Covetor Strengths:

  • High Efficiency: polarized ship characteristics means you’ll sacrifice some convenience for incredibly fast mining
  • Affordable: with a reasonable mid-ranged price tag, you can purchase one of these fairly early and replace it in case of loss
  • Tech II variant Hulk offers an unparalleled level of mining yield per hour

Hull cost: Covetor 58.4M ISK, Hulk 262.7M ISK (Jita)

Recommended Drone Layouts: 

  • 5x Light Combat Drone, 5x Mining Drone
  • 5x Light Combat Drone, 1x Ice Harvesting Drone
  • 5x Medium Combat Drone

 

3. Retriever and Procurer (early game)

In-action shot of Covetor and its Strip Miners

The other two mining barges are tied for the third place spot, with each intended for different audiences and purposes.

Both the Retriever and Procurer are able to mount all three types of mining equipment (strip miners, ice harvesters, and gas harvesters). 

The Retriever sports an easy, laid-back approach to mining. With the largest cargohold size of the three mining barges, you’ll be making fewer trips between the station and the asteroid field to drop off your filled ore hold.

The Procurer, on the other hand, focuses on tank and durability as its selling point. It’s best used for capsuleers in risky situations worried about losing their ship. It’s also bonused for drone damage, so don’t be afraid to fight back if anything springs at you!

The Tech II Exhumer variants of the Retriever and Procurer are the Mackinaw and Skiff, respectively. 

These are even stronger in the stats they lean towards. For example, large multiboxer mining fleets will tend to use the Mackinaw due to the lesser amount of clicks needed to maintain the fleet.

Stats:

  • Use up to 2 Strip Miners, Ice Harvesters, or Gas Cloud Scoops
  • Module slots: 2 high, 2 medium, 3 low, 3 rigs (medium)
  • Bonuses per level of Mining Barge: +3% to strip mining yield, -2% to Ice and Gas Harvester cycle times
  • +5% to ore hold capacity (Retriever)
  • +6% to Shield HP (Procurer)

Flat Bonuses: 

  • -12.5% to Ice and Gas Harvester cycle times, +10% to Strip Miner yield (Retriever)
  • +50% to Drone damage and hitpoints  (Procurer)

Retriever Strengths:

  • Ore Hold: a large ore bay capacity means you can mine and haul more before having to drop off at a station
  • Affordable: with a reasonable mid-ranged price tag, you can purchase one of these fairly early and replace it in case of loss
  • Tech II variant Mackinaw offers a low-maintenance fleet mining option

Procurer Strengths:

  • HP: Heavy tank and bonus for drone damage makes it durable (and viable for some fun combat fleets)
  • Affordable: with a reasonable mid-ranged price tag, you can purchase one of these fairly early and replace it in case of loss. If you lose it in the first place, that is.
  • Tech II variant Skiff is incredibly tanky and difficult to take down by both pirates and gankers alike
  • Drone Bay: doubled drone bay size allows pilots to carry more drones for mining and defense

Hull cost: Retriever 57M ISK, Mackinaw 268.7M ISK, Procurer 51.3M ISK, Skiff 262.7M ISK (Jita)

Recommended Drone Layouts: 

  • 5x Light Combat Drone, 5x Mining Drone
  • 5x Light Combat Drone, 1x Ice Harvesting Drone
  • 5x Medium Combat Drone
  • Pick any two of the above (Procurer only)

 

5. Prospect (mid-game)

Prospect in Gallente space

The Prospect is one of the two available Tech II Expedition Frigate variants. Its hull, as the classification suggests, is based on the Venture.

While the Prospect’s mining abilities aren’t the most attractive option out there, it does gain the very unique ability of being able to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking Device.

A Covert Cloak allows the ship to warp while cloaked, making it easy to escape danger and slip through enemy space unspotted. This revolutionary module opens the door to a myriad of covert operative activities, such as Mercoxit and wormhole mining.

While the Prospect can mount Ice Mining Lasers, it’s not bonused for their use. The Prospect’s ice mining counterpart, the Endurance, lacks covert capabilities and so hasn’t been included on this list.

Stats:

  • Turret Hardpoints: 2
  • Module slots: 3 high, 3 medium, 4 low, 2 rigs (small)
  • Bonuses per level of Mining Frigate: +5% to mining yield, -5% to Gas Cloud Scoop cycle time
  • Bonuses per level of Expedition Frigates: +5% to mining yield, -5% to ship signature radius

Flat Bonuses:

  • 100% bonus to mining and Gas Cloud Scoop yield
  • 100% reduction to Cloaking Devices CPU requirement, Able to fit Covert Ops Cloaking Device and Covert Cynosural Field Generator

Prospect Strengths:

  • Hard to Catch: ability to warp while cloaked gives huge flexibility in navigation and staying out of trouble. Also can be bridged/conduited through a Covert Bridge.
  • Mobility: Covert capabilities combined with a Frigate-sized hull means high maneuverability and agility 
  • Covert Operations: dip into unfamiliar or hostile territory to mine high-value ores 
  • Covert Cynos: can light Covert Cynosural Fields for hidden operations and Black Ops Battleships’ jump drives

Hull cost: 21M ISK (Jita)

This ship cannot carry drones.

 

6. Orca (late-game)

Orcas and friends at an Asteroid Base

The Orca is a capital-sized industrial command ship. It’s as chonky and slow as it is impressive.

In addition to a large cargohold and drone mining bonuses, the Orca is well equipped for aiding fellow miners on the field, with a ship maintenance bay, up to 3 fleet command bursts, and on-site ore compression through its Industrial Core. 

The command bursts improve the entire fleet’s performance, meaning the Orca’s contributions are greater than the sum of its parts! These characteristics make it a valuable asset for any mining operation, regardless of whether the Orca’s in a fleet or mining alone. 

Beware of the Orca’s Achilles Heel, though. Because of how slow it is to align into warp, the Orca needs ample warning ahead of danger to be able to escape off any grid. If the Orca gets caught, there’s very little it can do to defend itself—these incidents often end as expensive lossmails. As such, these behemoths should only be used in High Security space.

Stats:

  • Can fit Large Industrial Core, Can use 3 Command Burst modules
  • Module slots: 6 high, 5 medium, 2 low, 3 rigs (large)
  • Bonuses per level of Industrial Command Ships for Shield links strength and duration, Mining links range, strength and duration, cargo and ore bay capacity, Industrial Core fuel consumption, Drone hitpoints and damage, Drone ice harvesting cycle time, Drone ore mining yield 
  • Flat Bonuses to links range, jump fatigue multiplier, drone damage, Tractor Beam velocity and range, Remote Shield Booster range, Survey Scanner range

Orca Strengths:

  • Command Burst Support: variety of links to improve the performance of mining friends on grid 
  • Flexibility: utility and features for both solo and fleet mining
  • Tank: high durability for staying power against pirates, but may struggle to survive against PvP fleets
  • Industrial Core: on-field compression reduces ore size and allows longer stays on field before depositing ores

Hull cost: 2B ISK (Jita)

The Orca has a large drone bay. Players can make combinations of Light Combat Drones, Medium Combat Drones, Standard and Ice Mining Drones, and Sentry/Heavy Drones.

 

7. Rorqual (late-game)

Rorqual activating its Industrial Core. Yes, it goes vertical!

The Rorqual represents the final frontier for any miner: the top dog ship piloted by only an elite few.

To compensate for its hefty price tag, the Rorqual comes with the capabilities of a full-fledged capital ship, with a large maintenance bay and huge cargohold, Jump Drive capabilities, and a very special invulnerability module.

While the Rorqual is just as slow and cumbersome as the Orca, the Rorqual’s Jump Drive allows it to reposition around the galaxy without having to take stargates. This means that unlike the Orca, the Rorqual can jump directly into the docking radius of a structure and so won’t be intercepted by enemy scouts during travel.

While mining, the Rorqual also gets access to the Pulse-Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core (aptly shortened to PANIC), a single-use module that makes the ship invincible for a few minutes. When combined with the Rorqual’s strong self-tanking abilities, PANIC serves as insurance for its pilot and gives extra time for reinforcements to arrive. Those few minutes could be the difference between life and (a very expensive) death!

Stats:

  • Can fit Capital Industrial Core, Clone Vat Bay, 3 Command Burst modules, a PANIC module, and use ‘Excavator’ Drones
  • Module slots: 8 high, 7 medium, 4 low, 3 rigs (x-large)
  • Bonuses per level of Capital Industrial Ships for Shield links strength and duration, Mining links strength and duration, Industrial Core fuel consumption, Drone hitpoints and damage, Drone ice harvesting cycle time, Drone ore mining yield 
  • Bonus per level of Industrial Command Ships for Mining links range
  • Flat Bonuses to links range, jump fatigue multiplier, Cargo Scanner range, Remote Shield Booster range, Survey Scanner range. Penalty to Entosis Link cycle time.

Rorqual Strengths:

  • Command Burst Support: variety of links to improve the performance of mining friends on grid
  • Mobility: Jump Drive enables rapid, safe movement across the galaxy
  • Tank: strong active tank abilities, plus PANIC invincibility module
  • Industrial Core: on-field compression reduces ore size and allows longer stays on field before depositing ores

Hull cost: varies by alliance and location

The Rorqual cannot be used in or brought into High-Security Space

Rorqual players should already know what drones they should be taking :P

 

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Luke soars around the galaxy of gaming—that of both software and hardware—in his Malediction, playing a variety of different genres, sometimes giving his opinions to the Goons and Hordes.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Undertale: Yellow
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