Mining is the primary means by which mineral resources are acquired. Metals, metalloids, workable stone, fossil fuels, and other underground materials are extremely important manufacturing resources, so nearly every expedition will need to mine or engage in trade to get these.
- Mining in OC is accomplished by digging out locations in the world.
- A mine shaft can be built easily by way of a meta order. The order digs down to a designated Z level and automatically builds a stairwell, allowing workers to easily access the lower level.
- Ores can occur in various structures, including veins and subterranean fields.
- When a location of ore is mined, it can leave behind a raw material object. Orders to transport these to stockpiles are automatically created.
- Ores can be refined into useful manufacturing materials, like metals or metalloids.
- Materials that can be mined vary greatly in hardness, which impacts their difficulty to extract. All ores require tools to mine, and extremely hard ores can only be effectively mined with advanced tools.
- A miner’s strength and stamina play significant roles in how quickly he mines. Fortunately, mining itself builds strength and stamina about as effectively as any activity in OC, so even scrawny miners should become strong very in no time.
Mining is one of the simplest activities in OC. As long as you have available workers with the mining activity enabled, all you have to do is to select the mining tool and click on the locations that you want mined. Orders to retrieve any raw materials that are extracted are created automatically. There are two very useful types of mining meta orders that you can issue to simplify accomplishing some larger tasks.
Mine Shaft Construction
When you’ve selected the mining tool, the mine shaft construction meta order button will become visible, corresponding to the icon shown above. With this tool selected, clicking on the location will launch a prompt, asking for the bottom Z level to which the mine shaft should extend. Orders to dig the shaft and construct stairwells will automatically be created, so long as you have enough stairs available.
Leveling terrain is another extremely useful meta order. While you can build structures directly into hillsides, it’s often desirable to build foundations into level areas. With this tool selected, you can multi-select an area of terrain and indicate the Z level to which you’d like it leveled. It’s just a convenient way to get level areas for subsequent construction work.
NPCs have several options when following orders to dig out terrain. The simplest is digging by hand, but this method tends to be extremely ineffective. Only the softest materials can be dug by hand, like moist soil. Even then, digging by hand is extremely slow and labor intensive. If you have soldiers in the field, they need to dig a foxhole immediately, and you’ve foolishly failed to supply them with entrenching tools, this can come in handy.
When mining to attain ores, a digging tool is almost always required. The simplest digging tool is the shovel. As a tool that’s swung, its weight is a very important aspect of how effective the shovel is. Heavy shovels are swung more slowly than lighter ones, so try to keep materials used in their manufacture as light as possible. More advanced digging tools, like pneumatic drills, are not swung, so their weight is less important (although heavy tools do take longer to lug around). For extremely hard ores, like granite and titanite, automated digging tools are a must.
There are a few human issues to keep in mind when mining. The first are physical and obvious. Big, strong humans make better miners, especially when using primitive tools, like shovels. Mining itself is a very strenuous activity and will build up strength and stamina quickly in your miners. In fact, if you want to get a person very strong very quickly, build a torturously heavy shovel (make the handle from workable stone and make the blade from a dense metal, like nickel), direct the worker to equip that particular implement, and send them into the mines. Of all the strength building activities I’ve experimented with, this seems to be the quickest, if somewhat brutal.
Finally, it’s important to note that mining can be considered a menial job by certain NPCs. If someone in your expedition has high intelligence and ambition, directing them to mine will yield job dissatisfaction and the accompanying negative experiences. Make sure that you manage work activities properly and give the right jobs to the right people, or your expedition’s happiness will suffer.