While you can get by without it, metal is a necessary ingredient for many of the higher-level items and objects in the game. There’s a few steps to getting usable metal: you’ll first need to find it and mine it, and then process it into ingots.
How to Find Ore Deposits
It isn’t too hard to find ore deposits on the surface, since they usually have a few piles of the resource sitting on top of the veins themselves. Pan around the map until you see the little forbidden hand , then check to see if it’s the resource you’re looking for. Don’t forget that if you put your cursor over a tile, you can see what’s there by looking at the info text in the bottom left of your screen.
Usually, there’s at least 1 iron deposit above ground, but it’s also possible that you can’t find any. In the valley terrain, there are usually 4 layers below the layer your settlement will be built on, so you may have to simply dig trenches and hope you find what you’re looking for. If you can’t see any surface iron, curse your luck and start digging (see following section).
Your starting location will affect how easy it is to find ore deposits. Starting in a valley like most players will has lots of benefits, but you will lack ore compared to hill or especially mountain settlements.
How to Mine Ore
Mining is relatively straightforward. You’ll need to hit the Mine button [N] and then click or drag-select the area you want mined. Your settlers will eventually get around to mining, but you can speed it up in a couple of ways. You can select a settler and right-click a marked mining tile and select “Prioritize mining/digging”, but you’ll have to do this every time you want to mine a new tile. The better way to handle it is to go to the Jobs menu [Y] and find a skilled Miner, then make mining their top priority (see our Jobs guide for details).
To turn ore into metal, you’ll need to get it hot! Research Smelting, and then build a Smelting Furnace. Then you can queue production of the various metals in the Smelting Furnace. You can also smelt items for metal in the furnace.
Once you have usable ingots, you’re all set. You can now craft metal weapons at the Blacksmith’s forge and create reinforced doors, among other things. We hope this guide was helpful! Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.
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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.