Pirates undertake large scale mining operations
The major pirate factions are all escalating the manufacturing of ships and armaments, to support their increased activity in the outer regions. Like others they must sustain their industry with a constant supply of minerals. The pirates have obviously taken stock of the common mining practices employed by pilots all over, moving about in large convoys and strip mining asteroid belts under heavy protection. They then use heavy haulers to move the ore back to their stations.
Military experts have indicated that the best way to limit the military build up of the pirate factions is to starve them off their industrial needs; thus denying them the opportunity to extend their fleet. While DED wants to focus on taking out the pirate havens they concede that a war of attrition and logistics may be more prudent while the forces of the empires are so limited in the outer regions. DED officials have even hinted, through unofficial channels of course, that they would look favorably upon those that attack pirate mining convoys on their own and point out that this can be a good source of income for those capable of overpowering the strong escort ships.