Author Topic: Choosing Mining Colonies  (Read 3771 times)

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Offline Landric (OP)

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Choosing Mining Colonies
« on: June 09, 2022, 10:34:28 AM »
How do you choose locations for your mining colonies/bases/stations? Do you tend to spread automines across every (viable) body in the system? Do you settle one large mining colony on the most mineral-rich body? Or do you make a (fleet of) orbital miners, and slowly mine out each body one by one?

Personally, I've been sending 20 AutoMines and a mass driver to any asteroid in the system with (around) 4 total accessibility and a decent amount of minerals.  But after reading one of Steve's AARs (great fun by the way) and seeing mention of around 600 mines deployed to one extra-solar colony world, I feel like I might need to scale things up in a big way.

(One possible mitigating factor is the fact that I'm on a "conventional" start, but I think I just don't really have a sense of "scale" for a lot of mechanics in the game yet; like what constitutes a "large" tonnage for a millitary/commercial ship, what's a good top speed to aim for, what PPV a single ship "ought" to have. . . . and so on.  But they're questions for another time!)

Online nuclearslurpee

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Re: Choosing Mining Colonies
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2022, 10:43:03 AM »
Usually, in Sol for the early game I will look to secure at least one high-quality source of duranium, corundium, and gallicite, perhaps two each if mineral rolls are nice to me. Sometimes you can get multiple of these from one body, oftentimes you will need a different comet or asteroid for each one. Other minerals tend to be found in sufficient quantities incidentally until later in the game.

Otherwise, in Sol I leave other bodies available for the CMCs as these are an economically efficient way to diversify your mining assets. You only need 1-2 sites for each key mineral in Sol so that you can force those mines to grow in output as needed once Earth starts to be hollowed out, since CMC growth is not predictable nor controllable.

Once I am expanding to other systems, I will place mines as needed based on my economic goals. A fleet base may have a few dozen mines and/or some asteroid mining operations to provide minerals for MSP and fuel production, while a major forge world several jumps from Sol may have hundreds or thousands of mines distributed across that system and its neighbors to maintain resource independence. At some point, you will run out of minerals in Sol, and all the mines you have (plus the many more you should be building) will have to go somewhere - if you find a planet with very good deposits in a key strategic location, it makes a lot of sense to put 600 mines there.

Don't worry too much about if the scale you are playing on is "right" - just play and adapt as you discover more of the game. For the record, against the NPR you will probably find that ships <10,000 tons are suitable for escorts, ships >10,000 tons as capable cruisers, and ships >20,000 tons as capital ships which lead your fleets into battle - but this is not set in stone at all, it is simply one reasonable possibility. I often like to build my ships much bigger than this, but in a conventional start you might find smaller ships to be more practical. Of course tonnages can evolve over time as well and there is no need to commit to, say, 17,875 tons being "cruiser size" for all eternity.
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Offline non sequitur

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Re: Choosing Mining Colonies
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2022, 11:18:47 AM »
My first goal in exploration is to find a high quantity and accessibility source of corundium and duranium, in that order. Duranium usually ends up being the easiest to find so the hunt is always for Corundium. I kind of figure that with good supplies of these two minerals I can solve any other mineral problem. this corundium/duranium mining world will usually have hundreds of mines. Goal 1b is to find a sorium rich gas giant to act as the major fuel hub. Sometimes I'm lucky and all this is in Sol, but that is rare. I usually have shipyard that is around 85k tons set permanently adding slipways and is made for sorium harvesters. Goal is usually to get my sorium harvesting operation to producing 12-15 million liters of fuel annually.

after that the next goal of Neutronium for economic expansion (factories and shipyards) and gallicite. Gallicite or neutroium is kind of dictated by what I find first.

a long term goal I always have is finding a planet or a system that has significant easy deposits of all minerals that can act as a second center of production. This usually takes exploring for quite a a while to find such a system.

I prefer mining colonies with normal mines, but that decision is dictated purely based on if the initial corundium/duranium source is located on an easily colonizable world or not. Often it isn't.

A low priority goal is always looking for a duranium/uridium/gallicite world of any accessibility that can act as a fleet base, but usually this goal gets overridden by actual combat situations and the fleet base needs to go wherever it is most tactically needed.

Orbital mining stations are a real specialized thing for me and are usually only developed later and when there is great need.

the scale of it all has a kind of self reinforcing growth to it all. Earth runs of minerals and so the mines go elsewhere to supply earth. Sol usually doesn't have everything so you find other mining worlds. eventually it becomes easier to set up secondary production world rather than haul minerals 6+ jumps back to Sol. etc....

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Offline skoormit

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Re: Choosing Mining Colonies
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2022, 03:04:24 PM »
I assign each mineral a point value based on near-and-long-term strategic importance.
Surveyed bodies have a point total, which is the sum of each mineral's accessibility times its point value (only counting mineral deposits above some minimum quantity--typically 2k).
I then prioritize mining operations based on:
   Mineral point totals.

   Total cost of ownership.
      Orbital mining modules are the same cost as surface mines, but are quite a bit cheaper to transport and do not require population to operate.
      I will therefore tend to prefer to use orbital mining first.
         I prefer to cap my initial mining rate per body at 10% of the size of the most significant deposit (CRN or DUR, usually).
         That way I can leave any given orbital fleet in place for 10 years before needing to relocate.
      When I have established operations at all desirable orbital targets, I will establish surface mining colonies on low-CC worlds with valuable deposits in systems that I can safely add to the gated network.
         I usually will seed such a colony with enough infrastructure for 500k population.
         Then I rely on the civilian shipping companies to deliver population and more infrastructure.
         If the body has a low population cap, I will try to deliver surface mines to keep up with growth.
         If the body has a high cap, I will deliver a few mines at first, and then construction factories so that the colony can bootstrap its own growth.
      Automines are terribly expensive. I will use them only as a last resort.

   Proximity to production centers.
      Early on, proximity to homeworld is the primary factor.
      The creation of new production centers increases the viability of nearby mining locations.

   Overall system richness.
      Logistically, it is more efficient to develop multiple sources in one system than to spread development out over multiple systems.
      It is also beneficial to deploy orbital mining operations in systems with numerous orbital targets, to minimize the production time lost when redeploying as bodies become depleted.

      Logisitical efficiency notwithstanding, it is a good idea to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.
      If you've ever seen your empire's entire economy come to a screeching halt after losing your only fleet of Sorium harvesters to a pesky spoiler fleet...well, you probably don't want to see that happen a second time.

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