Covert Moon Mining Operations Net Billions for C.R.S. Corporation
Undisclosed System, New Eden - Using covert ops to scout activity in nullsec regions and blockade runners to ferry starbase structures, C.R.S Corporation [C.R.S] has set up multiple undercover mining operations behind Alliance-controlled borders harvesting moon resources.
A source close to C.R.S. claimed "The corporation has sneaked behind sovereignty borders and set up moon mining [operations]. They utilize covert ops pilots and probe when no one is in system to detect the moon probes. Moons harvested are low-end moon resources up to tungsten and platinum. They don't maintain the [operation] forever, just till detected, which so far is an average of 2-3 months. The scheme has been in place for approximately 4 months and total disclosed [income] is in the ballpark of 3 billion."
"First C.R.S. was doing it for an experiment" a source from within the corporation confirmed, "[we] made a mistake going to the wrong space but made an accord to move out".
Later, a more focused approach was developed. The operation initially chooses a region and intelligence is gathered on alliance claims to the space. Less than a handful of pilots in covert ops drop probes on unused moons, looking for rare to mid-range moon materials and monitoring system traffic; this stage was described as typically lasting at least two weeks. During the times identified as off-peak patrol hours, blockade runners then bring in the assets to anchor the control tower and mining system. In systems with just a few towers belonging to the controlling alliance, the stealth miners employ matching tower setups, both in size and model, aiming to camouflage their assets on the system scanner as something that is meant to be there. Corporation operatives continue to surveil the system and ferry the harvested moon minerals out during low activity periods for the sovereignty holder.
Alliance detection of C.R.S.'s operations is often signalled by towers entering reinforced mode. A corporation negotiator then establishes contact with the controlling alliance or corporation and attempts to secure an agreement evacuate the structures. Sometimes the corporation has to pay a ransom on the anchored structures, other times C.R.S. evacuated from the system under threat of fire. They described deliberately choosing systems farther from the target alliance's main occupied systems to give a window of time used to dismantle all structures and prepare for escape.
Compared to the Promethium and Dysprosium operations most popular with null-sec alliances, which generate some 55,000 - 80,000 ISK per unit mined, the materials harvested by C.R.S generally fetch 800 - 3,000 ISK per unit on the Jita market.
Asked to comment on the viewpoint that there is no direct theft of materials from the controlling alliance, but rather a tapping of unused resources or materiel not considered profitable (in money or time, as the sovereign alliance could generate more income by hunting local pirates in the time spent tending such towers), C.R.S. claimed "This in a sense is actually true from an outsider stand-point, although insider information from [our target] alliance[s] proves otherwise. They simply consider any place close to them as their space and they own it all. Some consider it an act of aggression, although our towers in a lot of instances are not armed since we want minimum risk."
C.R.S. refused to divulge the names of affected Alliances, as "naming them could draw attention to operations they have yet to discover."
A three-year old enterprise with currently eight members, C.R.S. considers this practice to be a good way for Empire-based corporations to develop nullsec activities and gather more valuable resources, as well as a great way to teach new pod pilots survival in hostile areas, developing their scouting skills and learning to participate in roaming operations. According to them, opportunities are plentiful as "a surprising amount of middle level moons are not utilized."
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