Soundwave's stated design goal for ring mining would be to make it collaborative.
If tech moons aren't removed, their yield is nerfed, and ring mining becomes the more profitable activity. Collaborative income should certainly always trump a passive income.
Ring mining would be getting moon minerals through collaborative PVE. It would take it out of the hands of the alliances and into the players hands.As a thought exercise, how might this work?
I see it as a possibly four step process, requiring (ideally) a different ship for each of the four roles.
ScanningThe process begins with a scanning ship, that produces a heat map-like scan of the current grid, similar to the heat map used in planetary interaction. This would show relative concentrations of minerals/isotopes of a given type. The scanning module may be something new, requiring different crystals which would map out different configurations of minerals/isotopes. This stage of the process isn't necessary, but it does help in locating high concentrations of the minerals/isotopes being sought.
DPSThe first step of the process would be to break down the "rocks" via DPS. Each rock would have some amount of EHP, and use of weaponry would break them down, ready for mining, once they reached zero HP. Perhaps different rock-types would have different resistances, requiring different ammo types. The higher the DPS ship you have performing this process, the quicker this process is completed.
MiningOnce broken down by DPS, they would be ready for mining. Again, different rock types would mean different minerals/isotopes/tech. Once a rock is mined out, it would further break down, ready for the salvaging process.
SalvagePerhaps a special salvager is required to finish the ring mining task. Perhaps different salvaging crystals for different salvaging rocks. Perhaps it is at this final stage that ring mining offers its tech moon resources. You certainly want people to complete the process to the final stage, so the tech moon minerals aren't revealed earlier in the process for that very reason.
This doesn't necessarily make mining less boring (can mining be made less boring?), but it certainly makes it collaborative. It may be possible to solo, with a mining ship that has three high slots, one for a weapon, one for a mining module, and another for a salvager. The process as a solo activity would be a very slow one (as it should be), compared to doing it with a group of people, each flying ships designed for a particular stage of the process.
I have zero idea what Soundwave is planning for ring mining, but this may not be far off the mark. The definite advantage of the process as described is that it doesn't require a massive amount of new development. It uses existing mechanics (with tweaks), rather than requiring all new mechanics being written.