Ship Mine Launchers launch a cluster of 5 mines that spread out into an array behind your ship. After arming for a few seconds they home in on the nearest target within 5 kilometers and explode with kinetic damage. They do not necessarily move in on the same target, only the closest, so it is possible that some mines will go different directions in a "fur ball" (lots of clustered enemies) conflict. The damage to unshielded craft is high, but not nearly as much as torpedoes (consider each mine to yield about 1/5th the damage of an equivalent level torpedo, however with critical hits and buffs damage can scale considerably).
The recycle rate interval is similar to torpedoes, about 9 seconds. One tactic for usage is to lay out a field around your ship before aggroing a nearby enemy (Spider Web Attack) and luring them in for a massive mine attack. Another is to lead an enemy into the mine field if they are outside of the 5 kilometer range of it. The mines will self-destruct after a period of time and they can be targeted by enemies for destruction. A single energy beam attack with kill them. Their effectiveness scales with skill points and tactical consoles.
Quantum mines have a higher velocity than photon mines when homing in on a target.