Mining Guide for Elite Dangerous — CMDRs ToolBox (2023)

Author: Down To Earth Astronomy

There are two main types of mining in Elite: Dangerous, Core mining where rocks are cracked open to access the valuable materials inside and laser mining where rock are mined with a traditional mining laser. The equipment needed and locations used for the two types of mining are slightly different. In this guide we will go through both methods to teach you everything you need to know regardless of what type of mining you prefer.

Laser Mining

Laser mining is the simplest form of mining in elite and currently the most profitable way to mine.


Recommended Ships

  • Python

  • Type-9

  • Imperial Cutter

Fitting your ship

Choose a ship

When laser mining the most importation feature of your ship is the number of optional internal slots since you will need a large number of collector limpets as well as a decent sized cargo hold. Therefore ships like the Cutter and Type-9 are a good choice, some like the Anaconda as well for its longer jump range. A Python is also a good option, even if it wont be able to carry the same cargo as some of the other ships. However it has the advantage of being able to dock at a medium station which can give you more options when looking for a place to sell.

You can see some of my recommended loadouts in the Ship Builds section.


For hardpoints you only need mining lasers. They come in 2 sizes, small and medium. The medium lasers mine about twice as fast as the small ones. Try to fit 3 medium lasers or as many as your Power Distributed can handle.


For your internals fit a surface scanner in the lowest slot. If your second lowest slot is class 3 or higher fit a prospector limpet controller, if it is a class 1 or 2 fit a refinery. Since we will only be focusing on one material the size of the refinery doesn’t really matter. You should always fit N A-rated prospector limpet controller since the rating of the controller determines how many fragments you will get from the rock. Next try to find room for your collectors. It is recommended that you have 1 active limpet per small mining laser and 2 active limpets per medium laser.

Use some of your largest slots for cargo and the remaining slots for a fuel scoop and a shield generator.

Finding the right spot to mine

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When laser mining you have to go to a overlapping hotspots, meaning you will need to find 2 or 3 hotspots of the same type with overlapping areas. a list of overlaps can be found here

How to Laser Mine

Once in the ring you need to locate a rock with a high % of the material you are looking for. Simply fire prospector limpets at the rocks around you until you find what you are looking for. Compared to core mining there is no need to use a pulse wave scanner. It’s good practice to keep the local planet targeted and always move towards it. This will ensure you do not fly in circles.

On at the rock launch your collectors and fire up your mining lasers. when mining try to position you’r self as close to the rock as you can to reduce the flight time for you collector limpets. Also try to mine at rotation-axis to reduce the number of limpets destroyed by hitting the rock.

Core Mining

In core mining you will be looking for asteroids with mother lodes inside to crack open, and then collect the materials inside. This type of mining often gives you fewer materials per hour, and therefore is also less profitable than laser mining.


  • Abrasion blaster

  • Seismic charge launcher

  • Pulse wave scanner

  • Surface scanner

  • Refinery

  • Prospector limpet controller (1 active limpet is enough)

  • Collector limpet controller (4 to 6 active limpets should do it)

  • Cargo racks

  • Shield generator

Recommended Ships

  • Imperial clipper

  • Python

  • Cobra mk III - Good Starting ship

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Fitting your ship

Choose a ship

Before you start mining you will obviously need a ship. Here you should be looking for a ship with a decent amount of internal slots as well as good speed and manoeuvrability. A lot of internal slots allows you to carry more cargo and the speed and manoeuvrability will help you locate and explode rocks faster. It is therefore recommended to use a ship like the imperial clipper or the python. The python has the advantage of being a medium ship which allows you to land on stations the clipper can't. The clipper on the other hand is faster than the python. If you are new to the game a Cobra mk III is a solid choice for a starter mining ship.

You can see some of my recommended loadouts in the Ship Builds section.


For hardpoints you will need a Seismic charge launcher to crack the asteroids open and an abrasion blaster to shoot the fragments loose inside the rock. If you have spare hardpoints you can fit a few weapons, but that is optional.


In your utility slots you need a pulse wave scanner. This module allows you to scan the rocks around you so you can see which rocks might contain mother lodes. The remaining slots are up to you.


In your internal slots you will need a long list of modules. In your lowest slot you should fit a surface scanner, this is used to scan the rings around planets for hotspots where you get a higher chances for mother lodes. In your second lowest slot you should fit a prospector limpet controller. It's not that important which one you fit, but I usual fit the largest A-rate that will go in that slot. Next you will need a refinery. Again it's not that important which one, any of them will do. Having more bins is always nice, but you can make do with just 3 or 4 bins. Next you will need collector limpet controllers. You will most likely need more than one controller since you want around 4 to 6 active limpets. The more limpets you have the faster you can collect your materials, but it will take valuable internal slots away from your cargohold. Talking about cargo hold you will need Cargo racks. How much cargo is really up to you. I like to keep it around 200 T but more or less is also fine, it's really a matter of taste. Finally I recommend a shield generator. This is technically not mandatory, but since you will be flying around exploding asteroids it's probably a good idea to bring a shield.

Finding the right spot to mine

Before you set out mining you should consider where you want to sell your materials. The market in Elite can change from day to day so make sure you check the market before you leave. I recommend using a site like or You are looking for the most valuable of the following materials:

  • Alexandrite

  • Benitoite

  • Bromellite (Icy rings only)

  • Grandidierite

  • Low Temperature Diamonds (Icy rings only)

  • Monazite

  • Musgravite

  • Painite

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  • Rhodplumsite

  • Serendibite

  • Void Opals (Icy rings only)

Once you find your desired material make sure there is a station with good prices that has a demand of at least 10 times what you can carry in your cargohold. Due to the supply and demand change made in January 2020 the bigger a % of the station demand you carry the less they will pay you per ton. Once you find your station, stock op on limpets and begin looking for rings with a hotspot matching the material you are looking for. Fly up to the various ringed planets and scan them using your surface scanner. Once you find one drop into the hotspot and you are now ready to begin mining.

Locating mother lodes

Once in a hotspot it's a good idea to define a point-of-reference to ensure you are not flying in circles. Often people are using the local planet or a nearby hotspot and when looking for rocks keep moving in the direction of the point-of-reference to ensure you are always moving into new rocks. As you are flying through the belt keep firing you pulse wave scanner and look for rocks lighting up brightly. The intensity of the rock will vary depended on the distance, so this is something you will have to get a feeling for. Spotting rocks with mother loads is made a bit easier by the fact that they will always have the same shape. In metallic rings mother load rocks will always be tear-drop shaped as shown here. In icy rings the mother lode rocks look like pop-corn. If the rock has a mother load inside you will be able to spot cracks on the surface of the rock as you get closer. To be 100% sure you can fire a prospector which will reveal if the rock has a mother lode.

Mining mother loads

Once a rock with a mother lode is located you will see a number of fissures on the rock. They are also listed in the right hand panel under contacts. Each fissure will either be low-, medium- or high-strength, this is an indication of how much damage an explosion inside the fissure will do. Get your Seismic charge launcher and fire a charge into the fissure. You can control how powerful the explosion is going to be by holding down the trigger (low-, medium- or high-yield).

Many people think you have to match the yield of the charge with the strength of the fissure, however this is not the case. Just think of the explosion yield as how much damage you do and the fissure strength as how much “armour” it has. So a high-yield charge in a low-strength fissure will do the most damage, while a low-yield charge in a high-strength fissure will do the least amount of damage.

Once the first charge has been set a timer will start and an interface will open in the upper right-hand corner. Your aim is to get the signal into the blue area. The more charges you set the more the signal will increase. If you mange to overshoot into the red area you can disarm charges in the left hand panel by selecting a fissure with a charge and disarm it.

Once all charge have been set you can go to the left hand panel and select any of the fissures with a charge in it and detonate it from there. You don’t have to manually detonate all the charges, once one goes off the rest will follow. Now back up away from the rock and watch it explode.

Once the rock is cracked open small fragments will appear that can be collected with your collector limpets. You will also see a number of surface deposits on the broken parts of the asteroid, these can be shot loose with an abrasion blaster to get even more fragments.

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