From Minecraft Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I think the article should be renamed to "Mining Techniques"

About the term "efficiency"[edit]

The term efficiency is often used to describe how many blocks the player observes compared to how many they mine. This is fine if your objective is to observe every block, but it is incredibly inefficient if you want to get as much ore as possible. Because ore bodies are almost always larger than 1 block, if you go round trying to observe every block possible then you will always observe the same ore body at least twice, and this is inefficient.

So I've added a mining efficiency section to the page, under "horizontal mining" for the moment. It describes the phenomenon and includes results of a mining model. It shows unequivocally that mining efficiency is maximised when two tunnels are completely independent of each other, and this occurs (for diamonds) when tunnel spacing is about 6 blocks or more.

Although I've added it under the horizontal mining section for the moment, the principle applies to other mining methods too. I think we should consider a move towards avoiding the term "efficiency" for anything other than actual mining efficiency, where

efficiency = (ores collected / blocks mined)

in other words an efficiency of 0.017 (about the maximum for diamonds) describes 1.7% of blocks recovered being an ore.

If anyone is interested in looking at the matlab model I wrote, I can send it to them. Piesforyou 11:19, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

I disagree with your conclusion that a spacing of 6 is the most effiecient (though I agree with trying to shift the terminology). Since diamonds spawn only once per chunk, the chance of 2 diamond veins fusing into one is even lower than in your model. The biggest diamond vein I've ever seen had a total "length" of 4. (it was a cube with 2 one-ores sticking out). So, a spacing of 5 gives you essentially no interference, while hitting all the big horizontal veins. A 5-seperation lends itself more readily to stacking, too.
I ran an analysis of my own; as long as source veins that don't fit into a cube occur negligibly often-ignoring coal, they certainly aren't exactly common-a 3-space mine done at layers 12, 8, and 16 will be both reasonably thorough and reasonably efficient-it will certainly hit any 2x2x2 cube of diamond, as long as it's not sitting on bedrock. 02:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Because single-block appearances of diamonds exist, if you want to be 100% thorough you're going to have to dig out at least 20% of the blocks. I've devised a mining pattern where digging out around 30% of the blocks on levels 5-11 will yield 100% visibility of all blocks, making it impossible to miss any diamonds on that level, including single-block instances. Even when not hunting for diamonds this is a useful setup, because emerald ore spawns in single-block veins very often! What is heralded in this article as 'probably the most efficient type of mining' yields 2 out of 8 seen blocks mined... That's 25%, which is worse than my method. Imagine to what levels I could send my efficiency if I apply proper spacing?-- 14:19, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Confusing and Wrong[edit]

There is some incorrect and confusing information in this article. In multiple spots it mentioned finding veins of sand underground. I have never found ANY sand underground, and I've been playing since Beta 1.6. If someone has seen it in 1.2.5, they can change it back. Also, the absolute mining doesn't make any sense. If they mined with what it says, it would be about a 20x20 space. On y=12, since that is bigger than a chunk, you a likely to hit diamonds, a fair amount of gold, and at least half a stack of iron. It also mentions emeralds there, and didn't mention it not being released until 1.3. Also, it mentioned that you could use a lava bucket for smelting, but didn't say it would consume the bucket. If someone could add in an unconfusing way that this will be changed in 1.3, please do so. There were also many typos and other grammar mistakes.

Everything I saw wrong I changed, but I thought someone should know what it was like. 22:49, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

About branch mining[edit]

IMO mining a "branch" every THIRD block is the best method as then you will check all blocks between the branches.

This is extremely inefficient because you will just end up coming across the same ore body twice, resulting in wasted effort. See the efficiency section.Piesforyou 11:21, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

However, most diamonds comes in 2x1 / 2x2 or 2+1 (not 2x2x2, it is so rare to find a 8-diamond ores), if you emphasized on efficiency, you will miss many diamonds. I will have to say, for other ores, use wider separation between branch. But mining for diamonds, use 2 blocks separation. (sig=?)

95% of what you THINK are 1x2 are actually 2 parralell 1x2 veins, attached diagonally. The only exceptions occur when attaching to dirt/gravel/caves/bedrock... so a guarantee of finding cubes of ore will find many of these, if not all. 03:48, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Strip mining[edit]

What's the advantages/differences compared to branch method? And why is it called "Strip mining"? Strip mining is referred to surface mining IRL. --Slider2k 01:30, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

The advantage to branch method is that it reveals every block in a certain area, and a difference is that it is usually done from a single room as oppsed to from a tunnel. It is called strip mining because it 'strips' the rock so you can see every square.–The preceding unsigned comment was added by Quornslice (Talk|Contribs) . Please sign your posts with ~~~~!
Let's analyze here. Does your method reveals every block in area? As you can see it does not reveal blocks in corner areas. - So answer is no, it does not reveal every block. On contrary, a branch method lets you inspect every block in an area if you make 2 block spacing between tunnels.--Slider2k 23:07, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, "strip mining" is a poor/confusing name for a technique that isn't actual strip mining. In Minecraft, the closest thing to a real stripmine is a quarry. Besides that, this just seems like a more complicated variant of a branch mine. It probably doesn't need to be here at all, and if kept should at least be renamed. Phasma Felis 01:16, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I like to make a quarry 10x10 and have strip mines around the sides. It gives lots of minerals.

More efficient method of strip mining[edit]

Picture. Once multiple levels are considered, strip mining could be more efficient if you had 3-block thick walls instead of 2-block. After mining out a room, mine again below the room. This time center your mined hallways on the center of the three blocks of the first room, and mine again. The next level down, mine in your original arrangement. You'll alternate patterns with each level this way. The middle of the 3 blocks is exposed as the roof of the hallway below and the floor of the hallways above. Chris3145 09:17, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Just to add to this, a few staircases in front of this makes for easy access to all corridors in such a set-up:
Mining example.png
I'm quite sure someone else thought of this before, but at least this could form a nice example of how to set such a mine up.
EDIT: ladders might actually work more convenient,, I just liked the look of this.Roady1990 21:20, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Please put this in the main article - it makes the idea so much clearer that the existing diagram with the green lines! --Adje 09:29, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I would like to share my set up for navigating the tunnels of this method. I needed a way to easily select a level and navigate along the tunnels at that level. (The diagonal staircases were confusing) A ladder can be placed which allows navigation up and down.
--Stephen304 16:10, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

--Stephen304 16:10, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

This method is undoubtedly "efficient" if your objective is to get every single ore out of an area. But it is not an efficient mining method because the vast majority of blocks you remove are are removed for no reason. See efficiency section Piesforyou 11:24, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Adding a cosmetic mine design section[edit]

It looks slightly out of place with only one entry. If you have any ideas for better organization feel free to change stuff around

It needs screenshots, also it would probably be better as a series of tips on how you can make a mine look better.Roady1990 13:10, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, mining techniques implies methods, tactics would be the individual points to think about when making a mine, also thanks to whoever added to it. clc02

Tips Misinformation[edit]

There is no correlation between dirt, gravel, or lava, and the frequency of ore spawning. I think that portion should be removed. NZPhoenix 07:08, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Layer Strategy[edit]

I would like to add a 'best layer' section for finding diamonds. With regard to layer 12 mining, and utilizing the large number of exposed blocks every time you come across a magma lake. I would also like to contribute 2 mining designs of my own, but am unfamiliar with how Wiki's work and don't know if I need permission first or not. NZPhoenix 07:15, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

1x1 Shafts[edit]

Anyone who has played Minecraft for at least a day knows not to dig down. But if you do the math, it might actually be a better strategy.

This only works if you have most of your items in a chest. Just take out an iron pickaxe and a couple torches,m and start mining down.

The risk of dropping into a lava pit is very small, and insignificant considering how many iron you will get while mining down.

And yes, it does give you a better yield. If you mine 1x2 shafts, you are mining 2 blocks to reveal 8. This gives you a 4:1 ratio of revealed blocks to mined blocks. If you dig 1x1's, you are revealing 5 blocks and mining 1. That's 5:1.

Also, when mining 1x1's, you can keep holding your mouse in one place. Almost no errors can happen because of your faulty mouse controlling.

One more thing : It gets you down to the bottom faster.

Because of these three things, I think 1x1's are worth the risk.

I suppose it is certainly a viable option, particularly if you bank your inventory every time you go back up. It could be made at least a little safer if you bring water for when you hit lava since it is slow enough that you could actually get the water down before taking any damage.
I still regard it as incredibly hazardous to use very much. If you're just looking for a quick way down to deep levels you could employ it and only suffer occasionally. But if you are using it to shaft mine all the way to bedrock to remove all resources from an area then your chances of hitting deep drops through cavern roofs and lava pits goes from very small to 100%. It's going to happen, and a lot. I would suggest wearing good armor and carrying lots of food, as well as good weapons for fighting your way out of caves full of enemies... unless you just allow yourself to die. If so then carry as little as possible and don't mine any resources on the way down. Dig them out when you tower back up so you don't lose any. If you dig through some just dig out some adjacent wall and plop them in there if you can.
You could also fill the hole with water and use air bubble techniques to stay alive. This would likely snuff lava and prevent you from falling to your death, though it would also prevent you from using torches for light. Then again you don't really need light if you're just digging down. Though it would make the trip back up rather annoying unless you periodically pickup and replace the water. Unfortunately mining under water is also quite slow.
There's just no perfect way to mitigate all of the downsides of 1x1 shaft mining under your feet without creating other disadvantages as well.
Also consider that it is actually possible to mine 2x1 shafts without having to move your aim. The easy way to set this up is to start by digging one of the blocks for your shaft then standing on the next one to dig. Crouch and edge off over the hole either sideways or backwards and aim for the side of the block you're standing on. Viola, you can now hold down the mouse button and dig a 2x1 shaft all the way to the core of the planet... or well, to bedrock anyway. As long as you react quickly enough you can always prevent yourself from falling directly into lava or a cavern, and can deal with any lava you may dig into as well. I generally just use water to harden lava safely without having to manually place blocks. It's easy peasy and only a little slower than 1x1 shafting, but just as easy and a LOT safer.

Mannon 18:50, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

UrsaArcadeus's Strategy Efficiency[edit]

When I first read this I really liked UrsaArcadeus's Strategy for both speed and efficiency, as well as not needing to figure out complicated layers of alternating patterns. It also seems quite nice for mining below the lava layer as mining 2x1 shafts down is actually quite safe if done properly and does not risk spilling lava out onto a wider area of floor as horizontal mining would.

But it strikes me that this pattern is sub-optimal. In the UrsaArcadeus's Strategy example the 6 single blocks between the top and bottom rows of shafts are viewed from two different shafts which cuts the efficiency of the shafts in those rows down to about 7 blocks revealed for every 2 mined. (It varies depending upon how long the row is starting at the normal 8:2 or 4:1 for the first shaft with each shaft added to the row only getting 7:2 efficiency thereafter.)

It seems to me that the following pattern would be more efficient since no single block is visible from more than one shaft, which means that each and every shaft dug enjoys 100% (4:1) efficiency.

I made my example the same size, though a smaller example would clearly demonstrate the simpler pattern. If merely counting the blocks in the square example UrsaArcadeus's Strategy appears to be more efficient, but this is merely because it fits better within a square boundary. In fact the example given shows 10 blocks in the pattern which are only revealed by shafts outside the example, while having only 4 blocks that would be revealed by shafts in the pattern which fall outside the borders of the example. If we instead count exactly the blocks revealed by the given shafts in the patterns I show 82 revealed for 22 blocks dug or ~2:7.45 for UrsaArcadeus's Strategy and 96:24 or exactly 4:1 for mine.

Obviously I'm not the first to come up with this pattern, I'm just wondering why it isn't mentioned while UrsaArcadeus's Strategy is? I could add it, but I'm new here and wondering if I'm missing something.

In fact it's the same pattern as above in More efficient method of strip mining, just turned 90 degrees to dig down instead of across.

Mannon 09:09, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, this method is more efficient, and it is also applicable to horizontal mining. Good job. Mister Tesseract 10:50, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

It as efficient as it is possible to be IF AND ONLY IF one has demanded finding every last ore. It's really better to sacrifice a tiny bit of thoroughness in exchange for much higher efficiency by adding one more layer of vertical spacing.
I have thus transmuted one of the sections into a "tiering" section, including three examples; one that is equivalent, and two that are MUCH more efficient, albeit less thorough. 23:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Who Actually Plays Like This?[edit]

Is this article really necessary?

Don't most people just mine until they have what they need to build cool stuff?

Who feels the need to cut say, a 16x16 shaft down to the bedrock? I bet no one actually plays like this.

       I do, actually. Mister Tesseract 10:49, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Is this article necessary? you bet. you could just "mine randomly" untill you get what you need-but then you risk mining yourself into a tight spot etc. besides, while "mine down to bedrock and start mining" works sortof....most of the diamons occur just a little above bedrock; it's nice to know where to start looking (aka y=12).
while I don't make huge quarries, I DO use a variation of the pheonix mine-in single player. It would've taken me a LONG time to invent the variation without this page, and I might waste more time mining as high as, say, y=25. 02:29, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Last section[edit]

In the last section it mentions to eat food to delay your death because eating is instant. Eating is not instant anymore, so it should be changed, but I'm not sure how it could be re-written and still make sense. -Cubs197 02:27, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Done, fixed it. User:Noobnathan Noobnathan 20:06, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Buggered Diagram[edit]

I tried to fix the diagram for UrsaArcadeus's Strategy, but it still shows up with a "Maximum number of loops have been performed" error.
Icon-KaizenNeko.pngKaizenNeko (T|C) 11:33, 10 April 2012 (UTC) 05:14, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

The loop limit in question accumulates across multiple BlockGrids. I assume the one you were working on was the next one after the visible Blockgrids? What I did for the Melon/Pumpkin Farming tutorial was to screenshot the page and use an image editor to clip out the first Blockgrid as an image. I then uploaded that, commented out that Blockgrid and replaced it with the image. That allowed the next Blockgrid to display, so rinse and repeat as many times as necessary. (BlockGrid really needs to be replaced with a CGI option....) --Mental Mouse 20:32, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Waterslide mining[edit]

A sort of mining I often do, in order to reach bedrock without bothering about lava. Should I add it?

1. Get into water that's next to land. 2. Dig in a staircase fashion downwards, while in the water. 3. Let the water carry you down as you mine. 4. If you hit lava, it will be extinguished by the water, and if the lava hits you, the water will heal you. 5. If you have a bucket, drinking some water will heal you. 6. When you reach bedrock, put down some doors to stop up the water and start mining.

Pros: Most mobs will not go down most waterslide mines properly, or they will only go down slowly. Most mobs like to bob up and down in water.

Lava is destroyed by water.

When you want to get back up, build a ladder. To reenter your mine, go for the fun water ride instead of descending into your mine with ladders.


If you hit a cave, you will be randomly washed somewhere. Darkness spawns unkind mobs.

You can drown in water if the mine is not properly constructed.

If you hit a cave with a full inventory, some of your mined items may be washed away - maybe into a mob's or lava's hands?

OK, so that's it. - MinecraftPhotos4U 19:35, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

First off, what do you mean by "drinking water will heal you"? Since when can you drink a bucket of water? As for the rest, it's interesting, but I don't see it having enough difference from normal stair mining. If you don't hastily walk forward, you won't accidentally walk into lava, and can easily convert it with a bucket of water that you keep with you. As long as you keep the stairs well-lit, you shouldn't have a problem with mobs anyways. -- 20:06, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I must have read from [1], where some noob inputted false info. That has since been fixed. But what do you think? I wouldn't drink fresh seawater, maybe you might have to purify water before you drink it.

So anyway, the advantages of waterslide mining is that you will be carried forward while waterslide mining automatically instead of walking. The other advantages are that you can be washed down to your mine, and other mobs won't. It also means you can get water buckets easily when underground. - MinecraftPhotos4U 18:02, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Creepy Shaft under my base[edit]

So I have this nice Cobblestone hut in a Singleplayer world, lots of everything, and then one day I decide to make a mine connecting from my house. I break open a piece of stone from the floor and there is already a pre-made hole in the ground with a ladder! I go down it and there's a HUGE walkway made of redstone ores, and at the end a RIDICULOUSLY SPACIOUS room FILLED TO THE BRIM with Gold, Diamonds, Emerald, Iron, and of course, coal. I swear I didn't make it. I was only like, 2 days into the game. And even weirder, is, there happens to be a chest hidden in the ore veins filled with DIAMOND PICKAXES! What the hell is going on? –Preceding unsigned comment was added by LovedDragons (talkcontribs) at 21:23, 13 July 2013‎ (UTC). Please sign your posts with ~~~~

Efficiency is blocks looked at per minute[edit]

OK, all these clever patterns miss many points. First, there is no point in looking at every block. It is just an illusion to think that it matters if you accidentally pass right by a diamond. If you make branches separated by two layers of stone, you will be guaranteed to find all ores you pass by. But, the probability of a block being a diamond is lower given that the one beside it is not diamond. So, if you know that a row does not contain diamonds, looking at the row next to it gives you much less probability of exposing diamond compared to looking at a "fresh" row. Second, efficiency is not about exposing the most blocks per block you mine. No, it is about exposing the most blocks per minute, including the one you mine. It does not matter if you waste a few extra iron picks, because you will find more iron by being smart than you waste. So, an easy method will be better. For example, just mining straight ahead 2x1 is really good, because it is fast. You can hold down the mouse button all the time, only stopping to switch the iron pick and place torches if you prefer. Another advantage with the straight ahead 2x1 method is that you can easily change direction when you come to lava. This method will expose 8 blocks for every two you mine, a 4:1 "efficiency". Considering you do not need to move the mouse much or concentrate, this is good. Maybe better is this variation on the feather pattern: Mine straight ahead 2x1. Every 5 blocks, mine one 1x1 to the right and one 1x1 to the left. Five will sometimes make you miss an ore, but this method is fast and easy. You do not need to count because five is the reach of the pick. The "efficiency" of this is 4.1:1, not a lot better than the simpler straight ahead method, but you can still do it non stop without counting. And, stand on Y=10. This will give you level 12 in the roof and 9 in the floor. It could be better to be on Y=9, because you will still find many of the ores on level 12, because they are linked with ores on level 11. The problem with being on Y=9 when mining straight ahead is that you will risk being flooded with lava that is common on level 10, if you are not paying attention. –Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 20:48, 25 July 2013 (UTC). Please sign your posts with ~~~~


There used to be a page about making a quarry. Where did we put it? –Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 01:59, 12 April 2014 (UTC). Please sign your posts with ~~~~

My opinion on the best way to mine.[edit]

First I dig down to the highest layer of bedrock. Now make sure bedrock fog is off because you won't be able to see a thing with it on. Make a bunch of chests and furnaces to smelt your ores and put your cobblestone in the chest. By storing the cobblestone in the chest you can mine for much longer periods of time. Now get the fastest pickaxe you have a efficency diomond for example. Then mine three blocks high and continue to mine a massive three block tall room. I use a fortune 111 pick and got thirty-seven diomonds in a hour. –Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 2:39, 25 December 2014 (UTC). Please sign your posts with ~~~~ Bedrock fog doesn't exist anymore tho. And why does storing cobble in a chest allow for more time? and you can't get a fortune 111 pick in survival, without external mods, commands or hacks. 10:22, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Move to "Tutorials/Mining"[edit]

This page includes help on things that I wouldn't call "techniques":

  • What kind of shelter you should build underground
  • How to get down 22:34, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

"Strip mining"[edit]

At the bottom of the section labelled "Strip mining," there's a line or so of text saying that a branch mine at Y-12 qualifies as a strip mine. This is incorrect, as the literal definition of a strip mine is "the practice of mining a seam of mineral, by first removing a long strip of overlying soil and rock (the overburden). It is most commonly used to mine coal and lignite (brown coal). Strip mining is only practical when the ore body to be excavated is relatively near the surface." Y level 12 is not anywhere remotely near the surface, in most vanilla worlds. I request that this line or so of text be either removed, or relegated to the branch mining section where it belongs.

My source for the definition of a strip mine is cross-referenced with a wikipedia article and the Encyclopaedia Britannica 02:24, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Hey where's wither mining?[edit]

This has silverfish mining with panda4994 did and it shows the video but wither mining is not on this. How come?Boorider7 (talk) 23:48, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Because the tutorials are added by users like you, and they have not added it yet. Since there are so many techniques, there is no point in attempting to add every single one, but if you see one that is missing, feel free to add it. KnightMiner t/c 01:24, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm too lazy to add it so why not somebody else add it? Boorider7 (talk) 15:06, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

I've added it, but as I don't know much about the subject, it would be helpful if somebody who does know more could add more details.--Madminecrafter12 (talk) 22:48, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

TNT Mining change[edit]

Can someone add the tag "until 1.14" next to the "can destroy the ores you're looking for" stuff, since TNT drops everything since 1.14? I mean, sure lava can be uncovered by tnt too, but that's the same thing as accidentally mining an ore block and then the block below it, which happens to have lava below it...? 10:19, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

I’ve added it. Does TNT drop all ores, such as the ones that can only be mined by an iron pickaxe? Also, does anyone know if this is a Java only feature or if it is comming to Bedrock too? The section will need to be updated upon release of 1.14. jahunsbe (talk) 12:40, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Since the wiki article only says "100% drop rate" and nothing else, I think it might be like all blocks that can be destroyed, and normally, explosions drop the "normal" drop, the drop when mined with a non-enchanted proper tool for the block. 10:36, 3 April 2019 (UTC)