Okay; twice I have failed the mission to excavate the ore in the desert. The enemies are a breeze although they never quit coming when I'm in the drilling area. The drills light up, I hit E , the gage goes halfway up, I keep hitting E like it says, the gage goes down, time runs out, I fail the mission. I tried killing the spawns first but they never stop! Am I missing something or is it a matter of lag? This mission does lock up for a couple seconds often when things are spawning.

Only hit E when the drills are glowing. You can pretty much ignore the mobs, and just let your NPC partners keep them distracted.

Thank you! I guess I should probably take Afin with me. No other partners. And I don't seem to see any chat whatsoever (except my own and the npcs') - so it's tough to get in-game advice.