Mining was introduced in Alpha Patch 3.2.0 and is a profitable profession for any Citizen with a Prospector. Mining involves scanning for materials, fracturing the mine-able rocks into fragments, and extracting the valuable resources before selling them at the nearest outpost.
NOTE: Currently in 3.2, mining is limited to the Prospector, with other mining ships becoming available in future updates.
The first step for mining is to find the ores and materials you want to extract. These can be found on planetoids (like Yela) or in asteroid belts surrounding the planets of the system.
Next, the miner must open the scan UI by pressing TAB. This will allow the miner to hold the Left Mouse Button to charge and release a ping to discover nearby mine-able rocks.
Warning: The radar ping will make you more visible to nearby ships. Be wary of any potentially dangerous ships nearby!
Once you are near the rocks of interest, the mining HUD may be opened by pressing M. Hovering in front of the now-outlined rocks will analyze those rocks and provide the following information about it:
- Composition: The minerals contained within the rock. The Prospector cannot "filter out" inert rock, so higher percentages of minerals will provide a more valuable cargo.
- Resistance: The resistance of the rock to the mining laser. On a scale from 0 to 1, a larger number will take longer and more power to fracture
- Instability: The instability of the rock will make it more challenging to maintain a balanced power level without exploding the rock and damaging the ship
At this point the value of the rock can be determined, and the miner can decide to either leave and find a more valuable rock, or to mine this particular node of minerals.
Once the best rock is chosen, it is time to fracture the rock into smaller pieces that may be stored in the ship's hold. This is done using the Fracturing Laser.
Adjust the Laser Throttle using the Mouse Wheel to increase or decrease the power applied to the rock. The objective is to raise the Rock Energy Level from the white Build-up zone to the green Fracturing zone while avoiding the red Overcharge zone
- Fracturing Zone: While the energy level is in the Fracturing zone, the Fracturing Sensor bar on the right will fill. Once it reaches 100%, the rock will fracture and extraction of minerals can begin.
- Overcharge Zone: If the Rock Energy Level exceeds the safe zone and reaches the Overcharge zone, the Overcharge Sensor will begin to fill. If this reaches 100%, the rock will explode, damaging nearby ships and players.
Once a rock has fractured, some of the pieces may be extracted into the cargo hold. Press the Right Mouse Button to switch to extraction mode and begin using the tractor beam to target the purple-outlined fragments and extract them into the cargo hold.
Some rocks may not have fully fractured and will require another dose of the Mining Beam to break them apart further.
Selling the Ore
With a full cargo hold, the ore may be sold at a mining kiosk near the Administration NPC at the three major trade hubs around Crusader:
Future Plans for Mining
Mining will be one of the primary occupations of the game. Running a successful mining operation will require skill and creative thinking, not repetitive button pressing. Elements of this include paying attention to the commodity marketplace to determine what to mine, and then locating a suitable asteroid field that contains the mineral, and finally selling your cargo after you have mined it.
All of the following specialist positions may be helmed by either a player or an NPC, with more experienced NPCs performing their duties in superior fashion, but usually at the expense of demanding a higher monthly salary. 
The pilot will be in charge of rotating around the asteroids, finding optimal locations, and keeping the ship safe as you are flying in a challenging area with environmental hazards.
The scanning operator will help you figure out which asteroids have the composition of minerals you want to extract, and are most attractive to mine. The scan operator does this using remote material analysis packages (RMAPs), which must be guided into the asteroid precisely to receive intel. The operator must balance the time demands of guidance calculations vs their skill in inserting the RMAP 
Mining Beam Operator
Mining beam operators are the guys directing the mining lasers, injecting the energy into the asteroid to extract the fragments of minerals. They have to monitor the asteroid stability, using tools like an exothermic reaction detector, while watching out for volatile compounds that may explode from the energy injected, or seismic micro-tremors using the Laser Seismometer. The Analytical Materials Processor will give the operator feedback on the materials in the beam path.
Cargo Loading Operator
The Cargo Operator sifts through the blasted off fragments, and maneuvers the desired ones into the ship cargo hold by applying forces to it via repulsor and attractor beams from the cargo hold.
Specifically used on ships that have a refinery on board, such as the Orion.
The refinery operator is in charge of the mechanics that allow unrefined ore to be converted into pure materials via multiple processing units. "It's not flip-a-switch and all of a sudden your ore is processed, you're going to have what I call a minigame, you're going to have a lot of mechanics you need to manipulate in the game". Some mechanics require dexterity, some require intelligence, some require a mixture.