Now, once upon a time, Arcane Weapons were a very early tech in the Empire tree. At that time, it provided the first thing that used crystals to produce, and so it also provided the ability to harvest crystals. For the sake of balance, it was moved later in the tech tree.
It is still required to harvest crystals.
There are several techs worth of crystal-using equipment prior to it. In order to harvest crystals, empires must now research quite deeply into the tech tree while receiving no benefit.
The ability to harvest crystals, therefore, should be moved to some earlier technology.