Yay another new miner. I learned how to do it a few weeks ago and i'm addicted. I was seriously considering outfitting my cutter or vette for mining, no joke, and not for the reason people might think. I wanted to do that for the epic cargo hold and more limpet controllers. Right now I use a shieldless Clipper but a Python is considered the best all-rounder since it can land on outpost and still fit a shield. If you want to fight the NPCs go with at least an Anaconda IMO. It has enough slots to not be totally gimped when outfitted for mining.
It isn't worth mining anything other than Painite, Platinum and Palladium. The three P's they call em, located in pristine metallic rings. They are common enough that you can fill up 200t cargo in about an hour for a value of about 10 mil or more depending on how much painite you find. The other stuff is garbage unless you need them for mining missions.
If you have to wait for your limpets, you don't have enough. In my Python I need about 6 active collector limpets to keep up with two medium mining lasers. With my current loadout on the Clipper, the shield is replaced by collector limpets, giving me 5 active. Someone stated that for best speed, position your cargo hatch about 50m above the cloud of fragments, seems to be about right but the angle matters too. If done right they go super speed.
Haz res mining is a different beast though. I haven't done that yet because I don't want to mess with NPCs while mining allowing me to leave out things like guns and shields. So here is something I learned, when ring mining (not in a res site, just random spot) NPCs will spawn when you drop out of SC, they may not spawn right away though. So don't start mining until they leave. If you have a fast ship like a Clipper, you can just run until they disappear. Reinstancing makes them spawn again so be wary of that, you will have to outrun them until they disappear from radar or they will attack you if you have any cargo other than limpets.
I am by no means an expert on mining. These are tips given by the guys over at https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteMiners/
You prolly know all this stuff, hopefully it will help somebody else who happens to stumble across this. But I don't see the point of mining garbage for pennies when in the same time you can come out with millions. You can have fun and make money at the same time.
ps: don't waste your time looking for low temperature diamonds. They are extremely rare and are not worth much more than painite, which is significantly more abundant. In fact, don't waste time mining ice rings at all unless you need the stuff for a mission. Perhaps the most important thing for a new miner is this: never use any prospector less than A rated, the rating affects the fragment count.