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I've been doing a fair bit of mining but one thing about the process is confusing me a little. When I enter a system and warp over to an Asteroid Belt, many times there is simply nothing present at that location. Now, I know that mining an asteroid will eventually result in it disappearing once it has no more ore left to give, so obviously in these cases the entire belt has been mined and there's nothing left.

My question is, how can I find out which asteroid belts in a system has ore left to mine without visiting every single belt in the system? Is this even possible?

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I think it is not possible... i was about to suggest checking belts with directional scan, but roids don't appear on Dscan. You could still check for ships in belt: mining barge out? Probably some roids left. (Maybe.) –  Lysarion Jan 7 '13 at 8:05
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

One truly excellent method of finding a 'roid to strip is a bit non-intuitive: Get a mission!
Mining (and to a lesser extent, Combat) missions create little dungeons that only you can easily get to. Sometimes these little pocket areas have some really nice 'roids in them!

  1. Go in with a combat ship and destroy all opposition.
  2. Go in with a mining boat and get some ore. Note that jetcan mining is fairly safe this way since it's not really a public area you're mining!
  3. Go in with a hauler and collect all your jetcans full of yummy ore!

Light caveats:
You can be scanned out while you're in this pocket mission area, but you shouldn't be there long enough for it to really matter. Jetcans pop after an hour or two, but again they shouldn't be there that long before you empty them. Likely the biggest threat will be the 'interesting' rats that spawn in that mission space, be on the lookout for things your mining boat attack drones can't pop for you!

I've actually mined Ark in hisec inside mission space, it's a pretty sweet deal! A bit more time-consuming than simply stripping all the local belts, but on the upside very private and secluded. Enjoy!

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Asteroids are re-seeded during downtime every night, so your chances are higher the closer you are to the end of downtime. If you play towards the "end" of the day, likely you will have to go hunting in places a bit off the beaten path. If you consistently can not find roids in a given system, it may be time to move your base.

If you are feeling very feisty you can join a null sec corp and mine for them in null sec, they pretty much never run out, although it is a bit more of a pain. Alternatively, if you are smart, attentive, and willing to take the risk, taking a T1 miner out to lowsec can be very lucrative.

Asteroid belts are where asteroids a seeded, if you go to one and find nothing, it means someone else got there first.

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Nope. Asteroids don't appear on Dscan ( that I recall ), even if you use the 'use overview settings' button. The only way to check a belt for asteroids is to manually go and check every single belt in the system.

Side note, if you intend to mine one system often, it will be helpful for you ( when you find a full belt ) to make bookmarks near the asteroids. The belts show up ( in highsec, anyways ) as a semicircle with the nearest asteroid usually too far away to start mining immediately ( barring a boosting Orca and some ORE mods, perhaps ). If you bookmark a couple of the asteroids ( based on your mining range ) you can cover a larger amount of asteroids in your spherical area before moving onto the next one. This becomes important for mining barges and exhumers, because they move about as fast as dead fish.

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