As we near the end of 2021, I am posting the updated mining statistics to replace the badly outdated one from last year. The data represents the result of 300 mining attempts at various locations around the Grand Isles. Only results that had over 30 axes used/recorded will be shown. This data will also be available on the Tradelands page and updated by the F&BP Trading Company.
Below is a breakdown of the mining results by island, by axe, and by weather type. Between these three measurements, you should be able to tell what kind of pickaxe to use in almost any situation. I’ll also provide my personal recommendation wherever it applies.
I have also highlighted in Green the top performers in each category as well as an average for what you should expect if you are using a mix of all pickaxes, including poor performing ones.
Results by Axe Type
The Copper Pickaxe has the highest profit margin of any pickaxe, regardless of where you use it. Gold Pickaxe is the best for mining low level gems, while Emerald Pickaxes are best for higher level gems. Onyx Pickaxes are the worst and should never be used. Angelic Electrosteel and Sapphire also perform poorly and shouldn’t be used unless you are interested in losing money to collect E-steel or Ice. Steel Pickaxes provide a 30% boost to iron output but also cost three times as much as Copper, thus making it more profitable to use two Copper Pickaxes than one Steel Pickaxe for the same output.
Results by Mining Location
The Spawn Islands (Whitecrest, Hallengard, Nova Balreska, Blackwind, Nassau) remain the most profitable mining areas in the game. Harrisburg has slightly better non-iron drops and generally has fewer miners making it a good secondary option on populated servers.
Freeport provides the best gem mining location. Fenwick and Perth are good secondary locations with similar drop rates if Freeport is already occupied. Smokey Island (nameless island south of Nova Balreska) is the worst performing of all the Nameless Islands and should be avoided unless you are claiming Smokey. Canoneer’s Key is also a bad choice unless you are trying to obtain Onyx.
It should be noted that these results assume the ideal pickaxe is used at each location. For example, the drop percentages for gems do not include the use of any picks where the drop rate is 0%.
Results by Time
The time of the day, as well as the weather, changes the drop percentages. Mining at night is more profitable than mining during the day, with gem drops increasing by 33% during Full Moons. The Kraken Night (previously called the Glitch Storm since I thought it was a bug) has a statistically significant increase in percentages for rare gems.
Despite popular belief, Daytime Rain did not seem to have a significant impact on gem drop rates. On the other hand, Snow Storms (both Day or Night) significantly improve profitability as long as you use a gem pickaxe and not an electrosteel pickaxe.
Night Thunderstorms are the most unprofitable when using a Sapphire pickaxe. When using a Gold pickaxe, it has similar profit margins to the Kraken Night, leading me to assume the same drop rates may apply to both nights, with the only difference being Electrosteel replacing Silver during Thunderstorms.
It should be noted that these results assume the ideal pickaxe was used for that weather/time. For example, results for electrosteel pickaxes are the only ones showing for ice storms.
In summary, if you just want to focus on the highest profit margin, the Copper Axe on Harrisburg or your Spawn Island during the Night provides the highest yield of any combination out there. Moreover, you can exceed 2,000 resources per week before losing profitability. If you aren’t hunting for gemstones, I recommend all players use this combination.
Inversely, if you just want to maximize the value of the items you mine, you should go to Freeport, during every Kraken Night, rotating between 1 Gold Axe for every 3 Gem Axes used there. The Do Not Exceed amount is 700 per week (don’t mine more than this many resources per week) to maximize returns. After 700 resources are mined, use Copper Pickaxes on a Home Island until you get at least 7 Gold to re-start the cycle, or hit your resource maximum for the week.
Finally, I want to give a special thank you to fellow fleet members Nuggies and Hatchie who helped me compile this data. Nuggies even confirmed that mining levels no longer change the ratios, only the drops per pickaxe. This means, if following the recommendations above, you can make a profit mining gems on on Canoneer’s Key as early as Level 4. So if you are a low level miner, do not be afraid to get out there and start making a profit.