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Skills used
This article is about an older version of DF.

Mining is an essential part of building a fort in Dwarf Fortress. There are several reasons you might want to mine, such as searching for various ores, or simply to create the basic tunnels and rooms in your fort.

Making a dwarf a miner[edit]

  1. Specify your dwarf to be a miner via view, pref, labor.
  2. Select "Mining" using + or -, press enter.

A miner also requires an available pick. A dwarf's Agility affects the speed at which material is mined, but the quality or material of a pick has no effect on any aspect of mining - a no-quality copper pick is the same as a masterwork steel or adamantine one. (The same is not true for picks in combat.)

Designating the area to be mined[edit]

  1. Press designate to bring up the Designations menu.
  2. Highlight Mine (it's highlighted by default) by pressing d again.
  3. Move the cursor to the starting point, press enter. You should see a green flashing cross symbol indicating that it's in Selection Mode.
  4. Move the cursor to another point to define the opposite corners of a rectangle, press enter again. A yellow area should now be highlighted, indicating the area to be mined.

Mouse users can also select tiles to mine by clicking on them, or by clicking and dragging to select a contiguous region.

Mined walls[edit]

When a tile has been mined, the surrounding walls and floor will be some kind of rough stone. To make these surfaces look less primitive, you can smooth and engrave them.

Stone hauling[edit]

Any useful material such as rock or ore is deposited on the ground excavated by the tile, and while loose stone will not impede movement, it can prop open doors, slow construction, and prevent open space from being used as a stockpile; therefore it is often desirable to haul stones away. You can assign stone hauling duties to specific dwarves just like you assigned them to be a miner. Make sure you have stockpiles where all the different stone types can be stored, too. Be careful which dwarves you assign to hauling if you have a massive dig going, or they might drop whatever other important stuff they were doing just to clear the paths. Typically miners will mine out stone far faster than haulers can properly clear it, particularly if the stockpile is a distance away.

There are alternatives to hauling. Masons or Stone crafters can build their respective workshops next to or on top of a large pile of stone for clearing, and then create items out of the stone to clear it. Masons can create furniture (which takes as much space as the original stone itself, but is at least useful); they can also create blocks, which unlike stone and furniture can be stacked in bins. Craftdwarves can create various smaller items which can also be stacked in bins. Assuming you have sufficient bins, place a stockpile right next to the worksite and your haulers will only have to take the items a very short distance to place them neatly in stacks. Crafts of all sorts are usually very light, but certain job types make multiple products out of single stones, which will multiply your hauling problem - mugs are always produced in groups of 3, toys and instruments are always made 1 at a time, and a single "make stone crafts" job can produce 1-3 items.

Not hauling at all is also possible. You don't have to clear the rubble.

Dig Priority[edit]

Dwarves mine in veins: after mining a tile, a miner will pick the "next" tile (a tile that is adjacent to the one just mined). If there are several possible "next" tiles, miners use an algorithm to determine which to mine next. This can be inefficient and break a large area into a large number of veins.

To pick a vein (which is to say, a tile designated for some kind of dig job), dwarves seem to use a strategy similar to the one used for chopping trees or selecting plants to gather. Generally, they seem to pick the northwestern-most vein. Notably, dwarves do not pick the closest vein.

Because dwarves all use the same method to choose veins, dwarves tend to dig tiles near other dwarves. This makes having multiple dwarves dig together a bit problematic, as they will often get in each others' way.

See also[edit]

  • Stone – A list of different types of stones and ores left behind from mining.