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Fire-safe Not magma-safe

Wikipedia article

This article is about the current version of DF.

Tetrahedrite is an incredibly common ore of both copper and silver. Smelting tetrahedrite will produce 4 copper bars and 0-4 silver bars (with a 20% chance of each silver bar being produced). On average, each nugget of tetrahedrite will produce less than one bar of silver when smelted.

Tetrahedrite can also be used in alloy reactions requiring either a copper-bearing ore or a silver-bearing ore, but will only be used as a silver ore if no other silver ores are available. Two tetrahedrite nuggets can be smelted together as a copper-bearing ore and a silver-bearing ore to make eight billon bars for a roughly 70% increase in value compared to smelting the nuggets independently.

When using tetrahedrite as a copper-bearing ore, it's often best to smelt it into bars first and then create the alloy using copper bars. This allows you to produce a few silver bars in addition to the bars of alloy, but does require additional fuel, dwarf effort, and time. Note, however, that when producing billon from two tetrahedrite nuggets, the benefits of using tetrahedrite as a silver-bearing ore outweigh the drawbacks of using tetrahedrite as a copper-bearing ore.

Tetrahedrite crystals with chalcopyrite and sphalerite crystals (size: 8.2 x 6.4 x 4.7 cm)

Understanding the value chain

A single tetrahedrite boulder (seen in-game as simply "tetrahedrite", laying on the floor as a byproduct of mining) has a value of 9 (3 for being a stone boulder, times 3 for it being tetrahedrite).

This boulder can be smelted into 4 bars of copper, each having a value of 10 (5 for being bars, times 2 for them being made of copper), for a total of 40, and a random amount of 0 to 4 bars of silver (mean being 0.8), each having a value of 50 (5 for being bars, times 10 for them being made of silver). So each single tetrahedrite boulder gives you a (mean) value of 80 in copper and silver bars.

Each bar can be then forged into items, like a battle axe. A copper battle axe will have a value of 68 (34 for being a battle axe, times 2 for being made of copper), thus the original tetrahedrite boulder will yield a total value of 544 (272 from the 4 copper battle axes, plus 272 as a mean of the possible silver battle axes, each worth 340). And this can be multiplied up to 12x since battle axes have quality levels.