This morning I got up bright an early (8:30 PST) and headed for Hellfire Peninsula. I wanted to get a jump on the gatherers and see if I could collect some Fel Iron before the server got crowded. Luckily my timing was good, I did a couple of passes around Honor Hold and found a few nodes of Fel Iron nearby. At one point I wandered all the way west past Falcon Watch and found a few more nodes, but the aggro there is worse for a level 60 noob (that would be me, rofl).
I wandered back toward Honor Hold and found a couple more nodes near the buzzards in the Valley of Bones. The nodes of ore don’t seem plentiful out here, as compared to the number of spawns of regular iron ore in the Badlands, but the respawn time is decent. I think I ended up with close to 30 ore, not too bad for a 90 minute session. Comparable to thorium in terms of farmability, from what I saw today. At this point it was close to 11am server time and I could see more players milling about so I decided to head back to town.
One more note, I was able to collect a handful of fire motes and one earth mote while I was mining, I also got 3 gems. So it would appear that the drop rate for motes is 10-20% and gems is around 10% as well. This seems to be in line with Thottbot’s data as well, at least on the mote side. Again, I can’t say that this will continue after release, but I certainly hope so for the Jewelcrafters’ sake.