Mining is the action of using a worker unit to gather resources.
Protoss has the fastest mineral gathering rate, while Terran has the slowest. The cause of this difference in mining speeds is due to the shape of the resource gathering centers. Contrary to popular belief, all workers move and accelerate at the same speed.
|Worker Unit||Minerals Per Minute||Gather Rate|
A base reaches full saturation at approximately three workers per mineral patch. Total mineral mining rate increases at a linear rate up to 1.0x saturation, then at an approximately linear (but slower) rate up to 3.0x saturation. Due to worker wandering behavior, minerals are returned at a somewhat random rate. Below is an example of SCV saturation in a base with 9 mineral patches. Note that mineral values are approximate and may vary in-game.
|Number Of SCVs||Minerals Per Worker Per Minute||Total Minerals Per Minute|
Vespene gas mines at around the same rate for all three races. Most modern maps are optimized such that 3 workers fully saturate a geyser, but many older ones (such as Big Game Hunters or Outsider) have geysers that require four worker units. Gas mines at a maximum of about 309 units per minute, or 103 gas per worker.
Frame data can be compared against unit build rates to determine the number of workers necessary to sustain constant production of units. This may be useful for Zerg players in particular, who need to stop drone production in order to produce units. Note that larva spawns every 342 frames on average.
Ignoring travel time, it takes 80 frames for a worker to mine a patch of minerals, and 37 frames for a worker to mine a vespene geyser. This means the theoretical maximum mining rate of minerals at full saturation is approximately 10 minerals per 100 frames, and the theoretical maximum mining rate of gas is approximately 21.6 gas per 100 frames. The table below summarizes values for mining rates at <=1.0x workers per resource.
|Worker Unit||Resources Per Minute||Average Frames Per Trip||Resources Per 100 Frames|
- Average gather rate on fastest speed, tested on Python. See http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/brood-war/92971-mining-rates-for-each-patch-python