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From A Tale in the Desert
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Mines are constructed on ore veins to extract metal ores such as Iron Ore, Copper Ore and Tin Ore from ore veins, as well as various Gems and sometimes Coal. Ore veins are discovered using the Dowsing skill with a Dowsing Rod. Working the mine will produce ore upon success, and occasionally yield a gem of a set type or some coal if the mine is deep enough. Working the mine uses Strength and Perception. Mines not built on an ore vein or a depleted one are called sand mines. Though they still can produce Gems and Coal.

As not all methods of Ore Extraction are completely resolved, there is more information and theories on the discussion page.


Automation Upgrade Cost

Installation of Automatic Winches, letting mines run themselves. cost:

Must know Mine Automation to install

Repair Cost

  • Each repair of an ore mine lasts approximately 1000 pulls on average
  • Each repair of a sand mine lasts approximately 500 pulls on average
Repair Level Boards Bricks Water in jugs Leather Slate Rope
1 20 30 2 0 3 1
2 20 30 2 1 3 2
3 20 30 3 3 3 3
4 20 30 4 5 3 4
5 20 30 5 8 3 5
6 20 30 7 12 3 6
7 20 30 9 16 3 7
8 20 30 11 21 3 8
9 20 30 13 27 3 9
10 20 30 16 33 3 10
11 20 30 19 40 3 11
12 20 30 22 48 3 12
13 20 30 26 56 3 13
14 20 30 30 65 3 14
15 20 30 34 75 3 15
16 20 30 38 85 3 16
17 20 30 43 96 3 17
18 20 30 48 108 3 18
19 20 30 53 120 3 19
20 20 30 59 133 3 20
21 20 30 65 147 3 21
22 20 30 71 161 3 22
23 20 30 77 176 3 23
24 20 30 84 192 3 24
29 20 30 122 280 3 29


  • Water in Jugs: ( level^2 / 7 ) + 2
  • Leather: level^2 / 3
  • Rope: level


Mines are built on open ground using Projects > Build a Mine. You must have the Mining skill.

Mines cannot be built closer than 8 coordinates to an existing mine or torn-down mine in either the X or Y direction. (The no-build zone around a mine is square, not circular.)

Ore mines can be torn down, but you do not recover any materials. The mine continues to exist underground, and can be rebuilt using Projects > Rebuild a nearby mine while near the original mine location. Rebuilding the mine costs the same as repairing the original mine would have cost. Ownership of the mine transfers to whoever rebuilds it, but the other characteristics of the mine (position, ore and gem type, repair status) don't change.

Sand mines can be torn down normally (whether needing repair or not); you will recover some materials based on your Salvage skill. After being torn down, they do not continue to exist underground like ore mines; instead, they are completely removed. To rebuild, you must build a completely new mine.


To work a mine, you must first learn the skill Ore Extraction from the School of Architecture.

An ore mine shows 7 crystals of different colors in the dirt pile by the mine. Select one of these and you will have an option to "Work this Mine [W]".

Each mine type has a different method of operation in order to properly identify which crystal to pick in order to get the ore out. If you correctly identify the crystal, you'll get some base amount of ore (e.g. iron gives you 3 ore, copper gives 3, tin gives 1, etc). If you pick the wrong crystal, you get no ore. In both cases, the crystals will then change colors.

Yields are increased either by picking the correct crystal multiple times in a row (to a max of 7 ore/pull) for some ores (for example Antimony and Lead) or for playing the memory game for +1 ore/pull for each time step back you play the memory game for ores like Copper, Iron, Tin, etc. The memory game can be played out to 6 time steps for 7 ore/pull for most metals, but can only be played out to your Ore Extraction level minus one for Copper and Iron (note ore extraction level only matters for Iron and Copper).

Extraction Methods


The best way I can describe it is that you want the most emissive crystal, the most... luminescent.
I've gotten very good return on working the crystal with the highest brightness. ~McArine
I've gotten very good returns using the crystal with the highest max(r,g,b) value. -Eldrad
I've gotten almost excellent results using the crystal with the max V value on HSV colorspace or just max(R,G,B) ;). -Talos
You can play the memory game for up to 6 time steps ago for 7 ore/pull (ore extraction level doesn't matter).


There are two crystals of the 7 that share have similar color, but different brightness/intensity. Click the slightly more saturated of the matched pair. It can be difficult at times to spot the correct pair. Successive correct clicks will build a chain to 7.

I can find 3 crystals of the same hue, a pair, and 2 odd ones. Anyone else find them? I've had most luck with pairing the two with the same hue(closest to each other hue) and choosing the most saturated. ~McArine

I've had the best luck doing as McArine, selecting the most saturated crystal from the pair that is closest in hue. I have NO luck trying to select the proper one by my own judgment. I use the Pixie color tool. - Tamb


Copper ore is extracted by clicking on the crystal with the highest color saturation (i.e. the "least gray" or "most vivid"). Success yields 3 ore/pull. Each level of ore extraction allows you to play the memory game with one more time step for +1 ore/pull.


At every round there is a yellowish crystal. At odd round pick the yellowish one. At even round, check which one is yellow and pick his "linked" one. For examples, these are the rules working for the mine i have access, maybe rules are different for each mine(method confirmed, and each mine is different):

  1. Top Left -> Bottom Left
  2. Bottom Left -> Back Bottom
  3. Middle -> Back Top
  4. Back Bottom -> Middle
  5. Back Top -> Top Right
  6. Bottom Right -> Top Left
  7. Top Right -> Bottom Right

See also Linked Pair Identification Guide


To extract iron ore, click on the mismatched color crystal. Success yields 3 at Ore Extraction levels 1 and 2. Success yields 3 ore/pull. Each level of ore extraction allows you to play the memory game with one more time step for +1 ore/pull.


Six crystals will be one color, and the last crystal is a different color (the "odd one out"). The correct crystal is the crystal that was the odd one out the least number of times in the last 14 pulls, including the current one. In the case of a tie, pick the lowest-numbered crystal out of those that tie (number the crystals 1-3 left-to-right across the top and 4-7 left-to-right across the bottom).

(Previously, this said to pick the highest-numbered crystal in the case of a tie, but my experience is that it is the lowest-numbered crystal that is correct. --Inkoaten 05:00, 3 April 2009 (EST))
Perhaps it varies with the mine. Highest seems to work for me. --Numaris 12:54, 8 April 2009 (EST)
It alternates I believe. --delilah
Alternating worked for me. --naetorius
Lowest works for me, which leads me to the conclusion - taking in account the above statements - that it simply does not matter which of those crystals that tie to pick. All of them (tying ones) should be correct. This also eliminates the need to number the crystals in the mentioned way above (just number them whatever works best for you). --Arguz

For example, if the previous 14 "odd" crystals out were 3-6-7-2-1-3-7-1-6-5-2-4-2-1, then the correct crystal is 4. 4 and 5 both occur only once each - a tie - and 4 is the lower-numbered crystal of the two tied crystals.

The first successful pull will yield 1 ore. For each consecutive pull with the right crystal, the yield increases by 1, up to a maximum of 7 per pull. Choosing the wrong crystal yields no ore and resets the yield count back to 1. There is no additional memory game (beyond what you need to know to pick the odd crystal out)


Lithium mines have the same visual appearance as Iron and Lead mines; that is, 6 crystals of one color, and one odd crystal. The proper crystal to pick (referred to hereafter as the "active crystal") is the one that has been the odd crystal the most times over the last 7 pulls, plus the current pull (an 8 pull history in total).

In case of a tie, the previous pull's active crystal will remain active if it is still at least tied for the lead. In other words, the active crystal doesn't change until another crystal's count surpasses it, or until its count drops below another. In case of a tie where the previous active crystal is no longer eligible, the new active crystal will be the one among the count leaders whose oldest entry in the 8-pull history is most recent. (I need to verify that again... I thought that's what it was, but it doesn't sound right. --Numaris)

Yield starts at 1 ore for the first correct pull, and increases by 1 per subsequent correct pull up to a maximum of 7 per pull. An incorrect pull resets the count.


Click the blue crystal, or one with greatest blue component.

You can play the memory game for up to 6 time steps ago for 7 ore/pull (ore extraction level doesn't matter).


Like Gold, each crystal has a corresponding crystal. This can even be it self. When a crystal is the odd crystal, work it's corresponding crystal. This can be done with the memory game, to gain 7 pr pull. The corresponding crystals are different from mine to mine. ~McArine

My experience is that the colors can at times be very close, so it's hard to distinguish the odd one. I don't know if there, like gold, is a specific color where the rules are different. This might be the reason why I couldn't keep a steady run of 7. ~McArine

the 'link' seems to vary from person to person - Elfus

I found the above information to somewhat confusing. Every pull on a platinum mine is on the odd colored crystals linked pair. Once you know the linked pairs for your particular mine, determine which crystal is the odd colored one then work its linked pair. To determine the linked pairs see Linked Pair Identification Guide. - Akmenotep


Similar to copper: rate the crystals in order of saturation and pick the second from most saturated crystal. Using the memory-game to increase yield works in the same way as tin to provide up to a 7-silver yield (depending on length of sequence being repeated). The result of mining is "silver", and not "silver ore", i.e. it's ready to use and does not need smelting.


Each mine has a different circuit, click on crystals in that order. one crystal can be present in the circuit multiple times. I have seen circuit with 7 to 10 crystals. Yield come from 1 to 7, then stays at 7. Color doesn't seem to matter in any fashion.


The correct crystal is usually most colors of green, red and yellow and grey even the washed colors (careful though they shades look similar). Also described as "Most brownish". Also described as lowest blue in the RGB palette or Highest green in the RGB palette. All of these interpretations give the right result. The exact answer isn't quite known.
Using colour cop program lowest blue on rgb scale is working reliably. Most obvious colours are brown orange red but very dark blue is sometimes the answer which can throw off the pattern unless checking with something other than sight alone.

-The right way is, in a RGB scale where blue (0,0,255) is in the center and the colours that is close to blue lay up agaist it in the center. Top of the circle is white and bottom is black. So if you go around the edge of the circle its white and it goes over to a yellow and down to a black and then red and back to white. Pick the gem that is futhest away from the center to get tin.

You can play the memory game for up to 6 time steps ago for 7 ore/pull (ore extraction level doesn't matter).


Mine the crystal that has remained the same the longest. You will receive ore in proportion to how many times you are correct, up to 7 ore after 7 correct pulls in a row. As long as you maintain correct pulls you will continue to receive 7 ore. OE level appears to have no impact.


Click on the odd one out, there are 3 pairs and a crystal that doesn't have an equal pair. The crystals are paired by hue, so if you're using a screen pixel reader as an aid, look for the hue without a similar crystal among the rest.

You can play the memory game for up to 6 time steps ago for 7 ore/pull (ore extraction level doesn't matter).


Active crystal is the one with the most different saturation. If you have 6 crystals with high saturation and 1 with low it's the crystal with low saturation. If you have 6 with low saturation it's the one with high saturation.

You can play the memory game for up to 6 time steps ago for 7 ore/pull (ore extraction level doesn't matter).

Increasing your yield: the mining memory game

If you continually click on the correct crystal, you'll always get the base amount. If however you remember what's gone before and start clicking on the crystal that came up *previously*, then you'll get extra ore yield for as long as you can keep up the correct sequence. For example, if you perform a run consistently working the from a history of 3 crystal ago, then each pull will give you 4 extra ore. As soon as you hit an error in your sequence (because you guessed the wrong crystal) then the run stops and you need to restart your memory. It's easiest with iron where the correct crystal is most obvious, but the technique has been tested (Nicodemus) with copper, iron and tin.

As an example: label each crystal with a number. If it's the first crystal that's correct then write down "1" in your sequence. If it's the second crystal, write down "2", etc. When you've got the desired history length (e.g. 3 numbers written down), then keep writing down the correct crystal, but don't click on it. Instead, click on the crystal 3 back in your history. So, if a mine is giving a sequence of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, then select the first 3 crystals as normal (and you'll get 1 ore each time if this is tin) by clicking 1, then clicking 2, then clicking 3. On the next pull you start using your history instead of the current correct crystal and select 1 and then 2. Both of those pulls will say "no ore" because you haven't yet hit the correct sequence, but from then on (when you select 3, 4, 5, 6, etc) you'll get 4 ore every time so long as you keep the sequence correct (i.e. as long as you click on the correct crystal 3 pulls ago). The bonus pull seems to vary. With tin (i.e. a base pull of 1 ore), then you get a bonus ore per run-length of your sequence. That means that a sequence of 2 will give 3 ore. A sequence of 3 will give 4 ore, etc. For copper and iron I've only ever got a bonus of 1 no matter the length of the sequence. Whereas for tin and silver you can get up to a pull of 7. The 7 sequence appears to be the limit.

Note that if you're just mining normally and a sequence comes up "naturally" (e.g. the same crystal is correct 3 pulls in a row), then on the third pull you'll get the sequence bonus.

For higher levels, you will need to remember a longer sequence. Remembering three ore ago with Level 4 skill will only get your 5 ore per pull, whereas remembering four ore ago with Level 4 skill will get you 6 ore per pull.

Saturation, Colour

Some mines require you to determine which crystal has the most saturation, or the second-most saturation (e.g. silver). Some ask you to pick "the most blue". Sometimes it's not easy to tell which one this is (especially if you have colour blindness!). The most important thing to do is to turn off the "time-of-day" lighting, since it really makes things harder to differentiate. If you've done that and you still can't tell, then try using some magnifying software that shows you colours. For example, on the Mac(confirmed : works on windows; also runs under Wine on Linux, although possibly not all features work), you can run "Pixie" (a developer toolkit application) that magnifies a portion of the screen and provides information about where the cursor is pointing. If you enable the Pixie preferences "Float window" and "Show colour values", then you can easily wave the mouse over the crystals to quickly see which crystal is correct. Note that "most blue" would be the highest "B" value in the R/G/B section, whereas "most saturated" would be the highest "S" value in the H/S/B section of the information.

Automated Mines

Once you have learned the skill Mine Automation, you can instal Automatic Winches, letting mines run themselves. cost:

How They Work

  • Once the mine has been upgraded, you have the option to start/stop the automatic winch
  • You can also attempt to tune the winch using you mechanics skill. You can tune while the mine is started or stopped
  • You can use the mine normally (pull manually) while the winch is stopped.
  • The winch will pull ore and state how much "This winch has pulled xxxx ore". This value updates every 3 egypt minutes (1m30s Teppy minutes). This ore does not appear in the "take" menu until you stop the mine.
  • The mine will run for roughly 24 hours (please confirm) before the amount of ore stops increasing. There is no indication from the mine that it is not pulling any more ore except that the quantity pulled will no longer change every minute.
    • The duration is variable, and it may increase with higher levels of tuning.

Agreed (hilly) --Numaris

  • Stopping a mine that has reached its pull limit will break it
  • A broken mine requires repair before restarting the winch (using normal repair costs)
  • A mine that has not reached its pull limit can be stopped without being broken
  • A mine will not pull gems while running automatically. Pulling manually still results in gems


  • Automated Mines will yield the same amount of ore for any ore type
  • Yield increases with tuning
  • Tuned mines pull ore faster, meaning they get more ore in the same period of time (very hard to tune)
    • The duration is variable, and it may increase with higher levels of tuning.

Agreed (hilly) --Numaris

  • Ore is pulled with an ebb and flow to it, going up and down, up and down. A viable strategy (if the mine's location is convenient) is to visit the mine once or twice before it breaks and stop/restart it at a high point.
  • Level 0 (Untuned)
    • 2000 - 5500 ore
    • Please confirm with more accurate data
    • With Rare chance to get lots. So far 40 runs and 1 over 10k. (hilly)
    • 250,000 / 60 repairs data on auto mines, is 4166 average at level 0

Level 1

    • 6000 - 9000 ore
    • Please confirm with more accurate data
    • Can be as low as 2500, so far

Level 2

    • Please confirm with more accurate data

Level 3

    • 15,000 - 23,000
    • Please confirm with more accurate data

Level 4

    • 23,531 copper ore

Level 6

    • 28,115 antimony ore
    • 29,933 tin ore

level 10 (+4 from tuning, +6 from lubricating oil)

    • 44,855 gold ore