Last night herb and ore nodes were activated in the first zone of Pandaria, Jade Forest. I hunted for ore in two other zones (Valley of the Four Winds, Krasarang Wilds) but did not find any nodes there. It looks like we get just the starter gathering materials for now. I was still leveling my Panda Monk miner when the changes were made, so I spent some time in Cataclysm zones to get my Mining up to 490. I purposely stopped at 500 so I would be able to see the gathering requirement for the new ore.
You may be wondering why I stopped at 490 instead of 500. Well, that's because of the changes to the Mining Pick. On the Beta realm, the standard Mining Pick you purchase from vendors has a +10 skill buff. Here's the tooltip for the pick:
As a result, your Mining skill is always 10 points higher than your actual skill level. As a tester, I could not take this buff off without losing my ability to collect ore. This made careful skill leveling more challenging, but for most players this will be a bonus. So I left Twilight Highlands at 490 (effective level 500) to test the Panda ore and see what level it required. The Mining trainer was offering the smelting ability at 515, so I was pretty sure the ore would be the same. But it doesn't hurt to double-check these things :)
I was able to confirm that Ghost Iron requires a Mining skill of 515. As a happy bonus, I also found some Rich Ghost Iron nodes and they had a skill requirement of 550. I was actually pretty impressed that there were rich nodes in the very first zone, since that hasn't been the case in WotLK or Cataclysm. Another observation I made is that ore is pretty plentiful in the zone. It's not unusual to have 2-4 nodes showing on your mini-map as you travel across the zone. Granted, once the masses show up this will not remain so, but it was nice to see that the devs have planned for lots of node locations.
Here's a picture of a ghost iron deposit:
And here's a picture of a rich ghost iron deposit:
You can see that ghost iron is orange for my panda and remains so through 525.
Hagu has kindly pointed out that I left off the XP numbers for Mining. I did actually track XP while I was mining but just didn't remember to include them in the post. I went ahead and added some Cataclysm numbers for comparison purposes:
Obsidium vein @ level 85 = 5500 xp
Rich Obsidium vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Elementium vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Rich Elementium vein @ level 85 = 13,900 xp
Pyrite vein @ level 85 = 8800 xp
Ghost Iron deposit @ level 85 = 13,900 xp
The Pyrite number looks pretty out of place to me, but you can see that ghost iron is equivalent to the rich elementium. I kinda think ghost iron should be a bit higher than Cata ores, but since it kicks in at 515 I can make an argument for it to be the same. It's possible that these will be tweaked before launch, but I'm guessing they're pretty solid. What I like about this chart is you can see that there is not really a penalty for collecting higher Cata ores vs. lower MoP ores. This may make the Realm First races kind of interesting in terms of strategy.
That's all I'm able to share for now, but I'll be sure to keep an eye on other zones and let you know when I find more content!