Right from the off, Miner Wars 2081 is confused. (It's confusing, too, but we'll get to that.) Trapped in the middle of a deep space mining facility under attack by the Russian armada, you're surrounded by HUD elements informing you that the surrounding asteroid walls are rich in minerals. It's the first thing you see - and it's immediately irrelevant. You're supposed to be escaping and instead you're being distracted with nitrogen nodules.
It's Miner Wars 2081's way of telling you that it didn't always want to be a linear, mission-based space combat game. It's full of hangovers and half-realised systems that were originally put in place to provide emergent stories for a sandbox space sim. The minerals are the most obvious leftover; you can mine and sell them, but you're never given the time to actually get your drill out and pull them from the rock face. Instead, there's always something else tugging at your attention or a timer ticking down with petulant urgency.
The real selling point for Miner Wars was always going to be the procedurally destructible environment. Space is littered with the remnants of what was once Earth - huge asteroids that occupy a field that stretches out as far as the eye can see. The sun went nuclear, apparently, and it caused both Earth and Mars to explode. The vast majority of the pieces of world that you can see can be blown up or mined if you have enough explosives.