Mining is a source of income, and along with harvesting, the preferred method of procuring raw materials for the industry on Nia. There's always a strong demand for raw materials on the market, so this is an excellent source of income for new agents. Raw materials can be found in fields throughout the world. These field can be depleted, at which point another field will appear somewhere else.
Mining can be done with any robot carrying industrial-compatible chassis slots. Indeed, most bots allow miner modules, but there are three robots that are specialized in mining (due to their abundance of industrial chassis slots and their bonuses to geoscanner/miner modules):
Finding raw materials consists of two steps:
Before you can start gathering the raw material with your miner modules, you must first find a field. These fields are situated randomly around the Nian islands. To help you find their location, you can fit a geoscanner module and load it with the appropriate directional geoscanner charges (which can be found on the market). For this process, it's recommended to fit an Argano with a geoscanner and a lightweight frame. An Argano is quick and has geoscanner accuracy bonuses. Once you're outside the terminal, activate your geoscanner. It'll show an arrow in the general direction of the nearest field (depending on the directional charge you used). Use these charges with some reservation, as the arrows are usually not that accurate. Once you're on top of the field, the geoscanner will mark it's position with a cross; X marks the spot.
Once you're on a field located with a directional charge, you can switch to tile-based geoscanner charges. These charges will give precise information on the amount of materials in a small area in a tile-by-tile basis. Once you've done a succesful scan, the results are shown on the terrain by colored rectangles, ranging from green (small to no materials) to red (large quantity of material). You can also upload the results, at which point they'll be saved. Use the geoscanner window or the map window to view/activate these saved scans.
Using the tile-based scan(s) you've made earlier (which you can turn on and off in the Scanner window), you can start mining. Load the appropriate miner charge in your miner modules, target the ground (click the ground and press 'F'), and start mining.
There are 6 solid ores (Titan ore, Imentium, Silgium, Stermonit and Colixum) and 3 liquids (HDT, Liquizit and Epriton). Solid ores need to be mined tile-by-tile, until the field is empty (keeping a geoscanner on hand can be useful to keep track of your progress). Liquids can usually be mined from a single tile, drawing from the entire field 'pool'.
The obvious way to increase mining efficiency is by decreasing the cycle time of your miners (by upgrading extensions). The drawback however, is that your accumulator might not be able to keep up. Be careful upgrading extensions that decrease cycle times, and make sure your current fitting performs extremely well (higher than 50% accumulator at all times, which incidentally is the point at which your accumulator performs optimally). You could keep EP off the side and increase accumulator skills by trial-and-error. Alternatively, you can upgrade extensions that increase the mined amount per cycle.
When you start using better equipment and upgrading your extensions, you'll quickly notice how fast your cargo starts to fill up. An option is to deploy a field container (available through the market). If you keep the window of this container open, it'll last indefinitely. Once you close it, it will stay on the field for exactly one hour. This will give you a fair amount of time to go back and grab a transporter, such as a Sequer (industrial assault), a Lithus (industrial heavy mech) or a Scarab (industrial heavy glider).