I've been playing Elite Dangerous ever since the alpha (December 2013) and I've never mined a single asteroid. I've traded, done missions and went exploring but I never even bought a mining laser. Tonight, I've changed this.
After buying a Keelback yesterday and outfitting it with a fighter bay, I read a few discussions on the class and saw people suggesting that it might also be a decent little mining ship. So I decided to try it out and bought a mining laser and a refinery module. This might also have been inspired by The Expanse being back on TV and the fact that I always wanted to become a proper rock hopper anyway.
I quickly discovered that mining without collector limpets is basically a huge pain in the ass as you have to fly around hoovering up all the little pieces of rock you break out of the asteroids. Took me a while, but with the help of a guide or two, I finally figured out a workable system after a few hours. I should have expected this to take me a bit of digging around, it's not like the same thing didn't happen with the other professions I tried in the game.
Once you work it out, it's actually quite a relaxing pastime. Especially after a long and tiring day at work. It does also help, of course, that planetary rings provide some of the best vistas in Elite. Usually, I visit a RES heavily armed and shoot pesky pirates off the mining ships, but it's a nice change of pace to float around pecking at rocks and waiting for the limpets to collect the ore. It's not like I'm gonna get rich with this particular setup, but that isn't the point. If I can relax and make a bit of money on the side, that's good enough for me. Besides, if I get bored, I can always launch the fighter and go for a bit of bounty hunting in the RES as well.
The title of this post derives from a traditional German miners' greeting, since I'm originally from a very prolific mining region. In fact, the place where I was born and grew up in sits atop a honeycomb of mining tunnels.