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From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
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Skills used
  • Dig
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 stone types, or simply to create the basic tunnels and rooms in your fort.

There are several types of jobs associated with this skill:

  • Mining removes the section of the wall while preserving both the ceiling and the floor.
  • Channeling removes the section of the wall, the floor and if possible places a ramp one level below.
  • Ramps replaces the section with a upward ramp, also removing the tile and floor one level above.
  • Stairs builds upward (or downward) stairs.

Mining can only be done in pre-existing stone or soil; built wall, stairs or ramps cannot be mined. These must be removed using the 'remove construction' option (d, n)

Making a dwarf a miner[edit]

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

A miner also requires an available pick. A dwarf's agility and mining skill affect how quickly they mine.

Selecting the mining labor will disable the wood cutting and hunting labors, as they all involve the usage of different tools.

Designating the area to be mined[edit]

  1. Press designate to bring up the Designations menu.
  2. Highlight the requested action by pressing:
    • d for mining
    • h for channeling
    • r for an upward ramp
    • u for stairs towards the upper level
    • j for stairs towards the lower level
    • i for stairs in both directions
  3. Move the cursor to the starting point, then 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. Tiles can also be designated by using the mouse and left-clicking. This is particularly handy when you want to designate the same tile on several z-levels, typically to create up/down stairs. Leftclick and hold while moving through the z-levels.

Mining Warm/Damp Stone[edit]

When designating any digging operation, warm and damp tiles will flash, indicating magma or water in adjacent tiles. Miners can dig these safely, provided there is an escape route. Channeling and ramping designations involve two operations, and your dwarf will be submerged in the fluid when done. Unskilled swimmers can reach an exit ramp out of water if near enough, but magma will certainly cost your miner's life (the flow from either can knock dwarves off ledges, or naturally flood the fortress.)

Training Mining[edit]

Mining skill is important for two reasons: First, it allows miners to dig faster. Second, a higher skill increases the chance that mining will produce a stone, lump of ore, or gem. A legendary miner will always produce a resource unless they are drowsy, hungry, or thirsty.

Dwarves gain mining experience for each tile mined, be it stone, ore, gem, or soil. Soil is mined extremely quickly and is one of the fastest ways to train miners. Since the skill of mining also is used in combat, a dwarf with mining enabled that is carrying a pick will increase their mining skill through combat drills. This process is much faster than learning by digging through stone, but not nearly as fast as learning by digging through soil.

The fastest way to train mining is to first dig out upstairs, then remove the upstairs. Removing upstairs (even rock ones) is extremely quick and still provides mining experience.

Careful use of burrows when training up new miners can help to make sure your novices keep mining the dirt and sand areas, and keep your legendary miners working away at valuable ore veins.

A useful side effect of using this method is that once you are done, you're left with a nice tree farm and a safe grazing pasture for your animals.

How to cancel a mining operation[edit]

If you placed a designated area for mining but want to cancel the mining (for example if you approached damp stone) simply go to Designations d and select Remove Designation x. Then select the starting point of the area you want to cancel with enter, move to the ending point and confirm again with enter.


To create a channel with no downward ramps, you have to mine out the area underneath the channel first, or manually designate the ramps created for removal afterwards d -> z. If you wish for these channels to be completely inaccessible from the outside, channel out the access-point (downward staircase). Another (more complicated) way of removing any access to the moat is to replace the dug out ramps with constructed ones and creating a cave-in with constructed floors. Rampless channels are an effective substitute for walls against melee enemies that cannot fly, and they can be dug out far faster than a wall can be built. However, channels offer no defense against archers or dragonbreath.

See also[edit]

  • Map tiles – Different types of walled, floor and open spaces.
  • Caverns – Large underground tunnel systems.
  • Exploratory mining – Mining focused on finding valuable stone.
  • Soil – A list of soil types.
  • Stone – A list of different types of stones and ores left behind from mining.
  • Smoothing – Increase fortress value and dwarf happiness by improving the quality of your rough-stone mineshafts.