Ore Deposits

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This page was last verified for Vintage Story version 1.17pre1.

Typical example of ore distribution.

Finding ore can be quite challenging. In Vintage Story, ores are deposited in specific rock layers , broadly classified as sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous, and at specific depths. By using a prospecting pick as well as the information in this guide, players can more reliably find ores by understanding how they spawn.

Ores are distributed at random heights, in discs at various angles. Some ores have wider discs than others. Most discs average 5.5 blocks wide, though quartz discs are larger. The overall shape of the ore disc reflects the surface above and will always cover the same horizontal area. This means that regions with flat ground will have flat ore discs, and where the surface is jagged, the discs will be tilted and distorted. Thus, in flat areas, mining horizontally reduces the chances of finding an ore disc. This continues to be true until the surface is jagged enough that its slope is greater than the width of the ore disc.

For more information on the prospecting pick and how to prospect to detect ores, see the mining page.

Ore generation

The coordinates system in Vintage Story. Y=0 down at the mantle level. X=0 and Z=0 at the player's spawn point.

As of version 1.9, ores only appear in certain rock types. Many ores are only found in some host rocks, and different rocks can have different ore qualities. Examining a rock while holding Sneak + H, will provide information about which ores can appear in that rock type.

Ores are found in shallow deposits and deep deposits. The tables below provide information about disc generation for each ore type.

  • Y min and Y max: Ores are distributed throughout the range given by these values, where 0 is the base of the world and 1 is the highest possible block. The Y values reflect proportions of the ore's specific generator, i.e. if a deposit uses the sea level generator, then 0.5 is half the world's sea level and 1 is one block above sea level.
For example, on a default 256-block high world, an ore with a Y range of 0 - 0.85 using the "anywhere" disc generator can spawn anywhere between 0 - 218 blocks up (rounding to the nearest whole block). Therefore, a player would have to dig down around 40 blocks before getting a chance of finding that ore.
  • Average radius: the average width of the deposit along the X and Z coordinates. The variation is included with the ± symbol. An ore with an average radius of 8 ± 2 means that it can have a radius of 6 - 10 blocks.
  • Average thickness: the average height of the deposit along the Y coordinate.
  • Tries per chunk: how many times the game tries to generate a deposit in each map chunk. More tries per chunk means that ore is more likely to be generated in that chunk.

Ores can be found in four different grades. From best to worst, they are Bountiful, Rich, Medium and Poor. The better the grade, the more nuggets are dropped per block.

See the table below for which generator each ore uses.

Rock layers

While there are many types of stone in Vintage Story, some of them can spawn in specific layers. These form a sort of rock "biome", and the rock layer in an area dictates what types of ores can spawn there. There are three main types of rock layer, sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous, with a fourth type of volcanic rock (in reality a subset of igneous rock) that has different spawning rules.

Rock layers are always found in a certain order: from top (surface) to bottom, they go Basalt > Sedimentary > Metamorphic > Igneous > Kimberlite.

Sedimentary rocks that can spawn in layers include:

  • Claystone
  • Chalk
  • Chert
  • Conglomerate
  • Limestone
  • Sandstone
  • Shale

Metamorphic rocks that can spawn in layers include:

  • Bauxite*
  • Slate
  • Phyllite
  • Marble†

*No ores spawn in bauxite.
†Marble spawns within slate or phyllite layers.

Igneous rocks that can spawn in layers include:

  • Andesite
  • Basalt*
  • Peridotite
  • Granite

*Basalt uniquely spawns above all other rock types.

Additionally, ores can be found in suevite rock, which is always an indication of meteor impact and found on the surface, and in kimberlite, an igneous rock found only near the core of the world.

Shallow ores

Shallow deposits can sometimes (but not always) be indicated by the presence of loose stones containing ore on the surface of the world. To craft metal tools, copper is the first metal ore players need to find. Surface native copper deposits are readily available sources of material available to players during early game stages, except for areas where the top stone layer is bauxite. In limestone areas, surface malachite deposits can be found, which is another type of copper ore.

For the purposes of this guide, shallow ores are those that have a chance of spawning as a surface block with accompanying loose stones. They also have a chance to spawn quite close to the surface or sea level.

Mineral ores are marked with a ✓ symbol, as they do not have different ore qualities.

Ore Y min Y max Average radius Thickness Disc Generator Tries per chunk Stone types and highest ore quality
Chalk Chert Claystone Conglomerate Limestone Sandstone Shale Phyllite Slate Marble Andesite Basalt Granite Peridotite Kimberlite Suevite
Brown coal 0.48 0.92 10 ± 5 2 Surface 8
Black coal 0.1 0.9 10 ± 5 2 Sea level 7
Anthracite coal 0 0.8 8 ± 5 1.5 Sea level 6
Native copper 0.962 0.968 4.25 ± 1 1 Surface 0.2 Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich Medium Medium
Malachite 0.02 0.98 7 ± 3 1 Surface 10 Bountiful Rich*
Cassiterite 0.92 0.98 3 ± 0.5 1 Surface 0.007 Poor Poor Poor Poor Poor Poor
Galena 0 1 4 ± 4 1 Surface 40 Medium Bountiful Rich Medium Medium Rich Bountiful
Sulfur 0.3 0.9 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 15
Borax 0.4 1 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 6
Alum N/A N/A 10 ± 8 3.3 Surface 0.2 Spawns in the same manner as halite salt beds, see Mining - In deserts for details.
Cinnabar 0 0.4 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 1
Lapis lazuli 0.05 0.85 2 ± 10 1 Surface 5 ✓*
Olivine 0 1 32 ± 32 1.2 Anywhere 0.5
Fluorite 0.2 0.6 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 2
Graphite 0.05 0.85 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 6 ✓*
Kernite 0.2 0.6 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 2
Phosporite 0.2 0.6 8 ± 2 1 Sea level 2

* Only in red, green or white marble.
† Currently has no uses in the game.

Deep ores

Deep ores are not indicated by surface deposits in loose stones. Most deep ores can only be found by luck or by exploratory mining guided by a prospecting pick . Some ores, such as saltpeter, cannot be detected by the prospecting pick and must be found while exploring caverns. Gemstones do not have ore grades, but have low, medium or high potential blocks instead. For the sake of page length, ores and minerals that have no in-game uses have been omitted.

Ore Y min Y max Average radius Thickness Disc Generator Tries per chunk Stone types and highest ore quality
Chalk Chert Claystone Conglomerate Limestone Sandstone Shale Phyllite Slate Marble Andesite Basalt Granite Peridotite Kimberlite Suevite
Deep native copper 0 0.6 7 ± 3 1 ± 2 Surface 25 Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich Rich Rich Bountiful* Rich Rich
Cassiterite 0.4 0.75 5 ± 3 1 Surface 7 Medium Medium Medium Medium Bountiful Medium
Cassiterite (massive) 0 0.6 12 ± 3 1 Surface 0.1 Medium Medium Medium Medium Bountiful Medium
Sphalerite 0 0.95 4 ± 3 1 Surface 12.5 Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Bountiful Bountiful Medium Medium Medium Bountiful
Bismuthinite 0.05 0.85 4 ± 3 1 Surface 16 Medium Medium Rich Bountiful Rich Rich
Hematite 0.05 0.85 26 ± 10 1 Sea level 0.5 Rich Medium Bountiful Bountiful
Limonite 0.05 0.85 26 ± 10 1 Sea level 0.8 Bountiful Bountiful Medium
Magnetite 0.05 0.85 26 ± 10 1 Sea level 0.3 Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich
Ilmenite 0.05 0.85 6 ± 10 1 Sea level 2 Rich Rich Medium Rich Medium Medium Bountiful
Pentlandite 0.0 0.4 9 ± 3 1 ± 2 Surface 5 Medium Medium Medium Bountiful
Rhodochrosite 0.0 0.4 3 ± 10 1 Sea level 5 Medium Medium Rich Rich Medium Rich Rich Bountiful Bountiful
Quartz 0 1 32 ± 32 1.2 ± 3 Anywhere 0.5
Diamond 0 0.2 2 ± 1 1 Sea level 18 High Low
Emerald 0 0.23 1 ± 0.5 1 Sea level 64 High High High High High High
Peridot 0 0.23 1 ± 0.5 1 Sea level 64 High†
Saltpeter 0 0.8 10 ± 10 7 ± 3 Sea level 7 Can spawn on exposed faces in any rock layer.
Halite, salt dome 0.45 0.85 10 ± 8 150 ± 1 Surface 0.3 See Mining - Obtaining Halite for spawning details.
Halite, lake bed N/A N/A 10 ± 8 3.3 ± 1 Surface 0.2 See Mining - Obtaining Halite for spawning details.
Sylvite N/A N/A 2 2 ± 1 N/A N/A Spawns within halite.

* Does not spawn as a "rich" deposit.
† Only within olivine, found inside peridotite.

Ore specifics


Halite spawns in one of two ways, as a salt dome or as a dry salt lake.

Salt domes can spawn anywhere, but their top must originate in a sedimentary layer. An area with no sedimentary layer cannot have a halite dome. The halite readings that the prospecting pick detects in Density Search mode are for salt domes.

Dry salt lakes can only spawn in sedimentary stone top layers in deserts. In a typical temperate spawn location, with a "realistic" banded climate, you'll need to travel 13k+ blocks south to find true deserts. Gravel barrens, which you can find in temperate climates, are not hot enough. The dry salt lake will spawn directly on top of the stone in the region, but below the sand or gravel top layers. So it will take some shallow exploratory digging to find them. These dry salt lakes, while much easier to access than salt domes, will not give halite readings on the prospecting pick in Density Search mode, unlike salt domes. They are easier to find exposed in cliff faces, due to geologic upheaval. However, dry salt lakes only spawn in relatively flat and smooth areas.

Gold and silver

Gold and silver only spawns in layers of quartz. Silver additionally spawns in galena. Both gold and silver spawn in relatively small deposits, with a radius from 1 - 4 blocks and a thickness of 1 - 3 blocks. Silver can rarely appear as surface bits.


Sylvite is used to make potash , a fertilizer that not only restores K nutrients but can permanently increase a farm block's maximum K nutrients. Sylvite can only be found inside halite.


See Deposits for more information on deposit generation.

Ore deposits are generated with specific generators. These generators control how blocks in the deposit are placed. There are 5 generators as of v1.14. Ores only use 3 of them, with the rest being used by gem stones or minerals.


Called FollowSurface, the depth is in percent. Deposits will generate between the mantle and the height the surface. The surface is defined as the height of the highest block in a column, where rain will fall. This means a Y min of 0 will generate the ore above the mantle. A Y max of 1 will be below the highest block where rain falls.

Surface below

Called FollowSurfaceBelow, the depth is in absolute blocks below the surface. This is specified by providing a generator of depth values. For example halite uses it to guarantee that salt bed deposit in deserts always spawn exactly 2 blocks below the surface.

Sea level

Called FollowSeaLevel, the depth is in percent. Deposits will generate between the mantle and the height of the sea level of the world. This means a Y min of 0 will generate the ore above the mantle and a Y max of 1 will generate the ore below the level of the global ocean height.

Sea level in the world can be determined by the Y of the surface of a big lake or by multiplying the height of the world by 0.4313725490196078 and rounding down.


Called Anywhere, the depth is in percent. Deposits will generate between the mantle and the height of the world. This means a Y min of 0 will generate the ore above the mantle and a Y max of 1 will generate the ore below the height of the world. For example, it is used by quartz to make deposits generate anywhere in the world, but only within rock.


Called ChildDeposit, deposits using this generator will only generate inside deposts of the given ore. For example, this is used by gold and silver to only spawn inside quartz deposits, and used by sylvite to only spawn inside halite.

Video Tutorials

Detailed guide of the ore deposits English Detaillierte Erklärung der Erzverteilung Deutsch

Ores, metals and minerals
Guides Ore Deposits Metals
Metals Copper Iron Meteoric iron Gold Silver Lead Tin Zinc Bismuth Titanium (Ilmenite)
Alloys Bronze (Tin bronze, bismuth bronze, black bronze) • Steel Brass Solder (Lead solder, Silver solder) • Molybdochalkos Cupronickel Electrum
Minerals Alum Borax Cinnabar Coal Halite (Salt) Lapis lazuli Quartz Saltpeter Sulfur Sylvite (Potash)
Tools Pickaxe Hammer Prospecting Pick Crucible Forge Ore blasting bomb Quern Anvil Bloomery Helve hammer Pulverizer
Other Gemstones
Related mechanics Panning Mining Clay forming Casting Smithing Steel making

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