Ore Deposits

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Typical example of ore distribution.

Finding ore can be quite challenging. A picture of a typical ore distribution is shown (right). 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

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. 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.
  • Average radius: the average width of the deposit along the X and Z coordinates
  • 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.

For a detailed look at which ores can spawn in which stone types, refer to the list provided here. Special thanks to Cyphon for this overview.

See the table below for which generator each ore uses.

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.

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 Marble Shale Phyllite Slate Andesite Basalt Granite Kimberlite Peridotite
Lignite 0.48 0.92 10 2 Surface 8
Bituminous coal 0.1 0.9 10 2 Sea level 7
Anthracite 0 0.8 8 1.5 Sea level 6
Copper 0.962 0.968 4.25 1 Surface 0.2 Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich Medium Medium
Malachite 0.02 0.98 7 1 Surface 10 Bountiful Rich
Cassiterite 0.92 0.98 3 1 Surface 0.007 Poor Poor Poor Poor Poor Poor
Galena 0 1 4 1 Surface 40 Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich
Lapis lazuli 0.05 0.85 2 1 Surface 5
Sulfur 0.3 0.9 8 1 Sea level 15
Borax 0.4 1 8 1 Sea level 6
Alum N/A N/A 10 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 1 Sea level 1
Fluorite 0.2 0.6 8 2 Sea level 2
Graphite 0.05 0.85 8 2 Sea level 6
Kernite 0.2 0.6 8 2 Sea level 2
Olivine 0 1 32 1.2 Anywhere 0.5
Phosporite 0.2 0.6 8 2 Sea level 2

Deep ores

Deep ores are not indicated by surface deposits in loose stones. Most deep ores can only be found by luck or by using the prospecting pick. Some ores, saltpeter for example, can't be detected by prospecting with and must be found while exploring caverns.

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 Andesite Basalt Granite Kimberlite Peridotite Suevite
Saltpeter 0 0.8 10 7 Sea level 7 Spawns on exposed faces in all rock layers.
Deep native copper 0 0.6 6 1 Surface 25 Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich Rich Rich Bountiful* Rich Rich
Sphalerite 0 0.95 4 1 Surface 10 Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Rich Bountiful Bountiful Medium Medium Medium Medium
Cassiterite 0.4 0.75 5 1 Surface 7 Medium Medium Medium Medium Bountiful Medium
Cassiterite, Rare 0 0.6 12 1 Surface 0.1 Medium Medium Medium Medium Bountiful Medium
Bismuthinite 0.05 0.85 4 1 Surface 16 Medium Medium Rich Bountiful Rich Rich
Limonite 0.05 0.85 26 1 Sea level 0.8 Bountiful Bountiful Medium
Halite 'Salt Dome' 0.45 0.85 10 150 Surface 0.3 See Mining#Obtaining Halite for spawning details.
Halite 'Lake Bed' N/A N/A 10 3.3 Surface 0.2 See Mining#Obtaining Halite for spawning details.
Hematite 0.05 0.85 26 1 Sea level 0.5 Rich Medium Bountiful Bountiful
Magnetite 0.05 0.85 26 1 Sea level 0.3 Medium Medium Medium Medium Rich
Diamond 0 0.2 2 1 Sea level 18 High Low
Emerald 0 0.26 1 1 Sea level 64 High High High High High High
Chromite 0 0.4 3 1 Sea level 6 Medium Rich Medium Bountiful Rich

* Rich ores cannot spawn

Ore specifics


Halite spawns in one of two ways:
Salt Domes can spawn anywhere, but their top must originate in a sedimentary layer. No sedimentary layer = no halite. The Halite readings that the prospecting pick detects in permil 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 '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/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 permil mode, unlike salt domes. They are easier to find exposed in cliff faces, due to geologic upheaval.


Gold only spawns in layers of quartz. Following a quartz layer is a good way to find it. Ore blasting bombs can be utilized to great effect to clear out quartz.


Silver can be found alongside gold in quartz deposits, but it can also be found in deposits of lead.


Cassiterite is used to make tin bronze, one of the three bronze alloys that can be used to advance to the iron working stages of the game. Some traders sell bronze tools that can be used to work iron, but players must still find enough ore to cast a bronze anvil. Although surface deposits of tin do exist, they are very rare with the default world generation settings.

There is a 0.003% chance to come across a massive cassiterite deposit in a chunk. The smallest of these deposits are bigger than the largest of the normal sized deposits.


See Terrain Generation#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 simply 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.

Video Tutorials

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

Vanilla Game Content
Terrain Blocks

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Construction Blocks

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Functional Blocks

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Decorative Blocks

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Metal Working

Grid Copper anvil.pngAnvil Bloomery.pngBloomery Grid Crucible burned.pngCrucible Forge.pngForge Grid Tin bronze helve hammer.pngHelve_hammer Ingot Mold Burned.pngMolds Grid Copper Ingot.pngMetal Gem-emerald-rough.pngGemstone

Tools & Weapons

Grid Copper axe.pngAxe Bow-simple.pngBow Grid Copper Chisel.pngChisel Grid copper cleaver.pngCleaver Grid Wooden club.pngClub Grid Copper hammer.pngHammer Hoe-copper.pngHoe Knife-copper.pngKnife Pickaxe-copper.pngPickaxe Grid Copper prospecting pick.pngProspecting Pick Grid Copper saw.pngSaw Scythe-copper.pngScythe Grid Copper shears.pngShears Shovel-copper.pngShovel Grid Copper spear.pngSpear Sword-copper.pngSword


Armor-body-brigandine-iron.pngArmor Clothes-upperbody-lackey-shirt.pngClothes Grid Backpack.pngBags

Craftable Resources

Grid Oak board.pngBoards Charcoal.pngCharcoal Coke.pngCoke Grid Firewood.pngFirewood Grid Copper Ingot.pngIngots Grid Raw hide.pngLeather Flaxtwine.pngFlax


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BeeMob.pngBees Bighorn.pngBighorn sheep Rooster.pngChicken Normal Drifter.pngDrifter Fox(Male).pngFox Hare-male-lightbrown.pngHare Hyena.pngHyena Locust.pngLocust Raccoon.pngRaccoon Pig.pngWild Pig Wolf.pngWolf


Pig.pngAnimal Husbandry Grid Empty skep.pngBeekeeping Grid Crucible burned.pngCasting Grid Blue clay.pngClay Forming Sword-copper.pngCombat Hoe-copper.pngFarming Bread-spelt.pngCooking Bone.pngHealth Flax.pngSatiety Grid Flint arrow head.pngKnapping Grid Angled Gears.pngMechanical Power Pickaxe-copper.pngMining Grid Copper anvil.pngSmithing Creature-humanoid-trader-treasurehunter.pngTrading Gear-temporal.pngTemporal Stability Grid Copper hammer.pngSteel Making


Grid Lore Book.pngCrafting Recipes Charcoal.pngFuel Grid Raw hide.pngLeather Working Torch.pngLight sources Grid Copper Chunk.pngOre Deposits Grid Ruins.pngRuins Grid Lore Scroll.pngStarter Guide Berrybush blueberry ripe.pngWorld Generation