Comparison of mining ships for Mercoxit mining.

This is a rough "guide" to the different ships available for Mercoxit mining specifically but most of the points carry over to ore mining as well. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish.

Prospect beats every other ship in the game in Mercoxit mining EXCEPT Covetor and it’s Exhumer variant Hulk. The difference in theoretical maximums is around 7-8mil isk/hr difference at around roughly 11k m3/h difference in favor of the Covetor, Hulk exceeding the Covetor of course. Retriever and Procurer are next on the list trailing behind as expected with Endurance close behind the Procurer.

NOTE: THESE ARE ALL THEORETICAL CALCULATIONS, YOUR ACTUAL YIELDS WILL BE LOWER.

All values according to Pyfa with a Porpoise boosting with max skills and implant (Mining Foreman Link)

All ships with max skills and appropriate implant. (‘Highwall’ Mining MX-1005)
(Except the 2bil implant for additional 5% mining yield)

Prospect: 77,760 m3/h
Endurance: 57,240 m3/h

Covetor: 88,560 m3/h
Retriever: 66,240 m3/h
Procurer: 60,768 m3/h

As above numbers show, for Mercoxit mining specifically and only, the lead both the Prospect and the Covetor have over their siblings is quite significant. The difference between a Covetor and a Prospect is 12,9% in favor of the Covetor. Retriever being at 3rd place is a difference of 16% with Procurer coming in at 4th with a 10% difference to the Retriever. Endurance surprisingly comes only 5% behind the Procurer.

Prospect

Has the benefit of Covert OPs Cloak which allows it to warp while cloaked making it extremely difficult to catch. The incapability of combat gives it a great weakness but this is largely overcome by a concept called speed tanking which it can utilize well to keep itself in relative safety. Null sec rats can be tanked for a few minutes by which time, if there is more than one target for them to aggress on, they will switch targets to the other ship, making it possible to tank the rats until ore holds are full or until some other ship can handle the rats. Be careful of frigate rats, they scram and web you to your death.

Endurance

Slowest in yields but is a possible choice for dealing with the rats appearing, one can handle most of the ships just by on it’s own. It however, cannot cloak while warped but has the benefit of no speed penalty while cloaked, allowing it both, use the cheapest cloak available, and be at warp speed after uncloaking after easily gaining distance from gankers thanks to no speed penalty. Definitely more of a backup ship choice but coming with it’s own advantage by having a cloak for its own benefits.

Covetor

Clearly the king of yields but comes with it’s own problems. Covetor will provide a significant increase in yields but requires a support ship to handle the ore amounts. The time lost warping (unless the station is very very close) will influence your hourly incomes by a large margin. It’s inability to handle rats also makes it require assistance much more than any other choice  as it’s shields will not be able to tank the rats properly. This makes Covetor definitely a good choice in fleet situations where the support is available.

Retriever

Sitting at 3rd place makes it look like a decent jack-of-all trades but this can be misleading. It’s tank, though definitely better than the Covetors, is marginally good enough to handle Null sec rats. Large ore hold allows you stay around for a long time but depending on the activity near your mining location makes it questionable how long you will actually be able to sit mining before having to jump off to safety, when you can always empty yourself. If the space is safe enough, it can be a great semi-afk platform for sure but wouldn’t recommend for Mercoxit mining, there just are other options unless you really want to stay on grid mining for extended periods.

Procurer

While it may be the lowest yields of the barges, it does come with it’s own benefits which have made it a popular solo miner. Hefty shields and great drones thanks to it’s bonuses allows the Procurer handle Null rats well, even on it’s own. Great ship for Mercoxit mining despite it’s low yields and is always a welcome addition to a fleet with it’s drones.



Conclusion

Personally I’d recommend the Prospect, Endurance and Procurer to any newer miner just because of the utility they all offer compared to the other 2 barges. For fleet operations, Covetor and Prospect both are a no brainer. A flock of Covetors can easily handle the rats just with sheer drone amount while giving really good yields. I think Prospect makes the most sense to a new miner in Null especially for getting used to mining despite its relatively high price being around the same as the Mining Barges which will kick the Prospects ass in high sec mining for example and even in Null when mining normal ore. But as others who have ventured in Null know, it’s not all about having the best yields to bring the most money, there are variables. It’s common to get so to speak, kicked out of the belt, by a red jumping in local or even a neutral. This means it’s time to hide, get to safety of a station or dock up all together. This takes time. You don’t want to risk, none of the mining ships really handle PvP so fleeing is your best option. Prospect cloak, as well as Endurance, allows them to stay on grind at next to the ore instead of warping as others. It’s agility can allow it to stay on grid far longer than any of the other barges too, mining while the barges are forced to warp to safety.

Most of this applies to regular mining in Null space also, not just Mercoxit. Mainly only the yields change, putting the Expedition Frigates behind in yields compared to their barge counterparts but the benefits and situation is the same, only the yield amounts change but not the income per hour as much as you’d expect. As an example, a Prospect mining with Deep Core miners and T2 crystals is only behind the Procurer with T2 strip miners and T2 crystals by a small margin. For Mercoxit mining the Prospect is hands down the best ship to pick, for ore mining it’s still a good choice due to it’s safety benefits. It’s never bad to have a Mining Barge for better yields around to hop in when it’s safe but when it’s a bit more risky and you still gotta make that ISK (which is most times unless it’s “quiet hours”) the Prospect can shine. From personal experience, at the end of the day the biggest difference between mining yields comes from the capability of staying on grid and on the rocks getting that ore, actual mining laser yield numbers come second. Ore hold capacity, agility and enemy activity in the system all play into this.

TL:DR


Normal mining: If you want a barge Procurer solo, Covetor if fleet or can be within a few AU distance from station to negate the small ore hold. Retriever, wouldn’t bother but is ok.. Prospect for mining ore for more security, agility, cloak. Endurance is like a Venture.

Mercoxit: Prospect unless in fleet, then Covetor. Procurer is ok cause solo ftw. Endurance can be good to replace a Procurer. Retriever is meh, others seem better.