Minecraft PC Wiki

Mining is essential to those who wish to prosper within Minecraft. However, it's dangerous as well. All sorts of things haunt the depths- mobs, lava, falls, water, et cetera.

What You'll Need

When mining, it's best to follow this list of what to bring. The list is arranged most important to least.

  • Pickaxes- Obviously for mining blocks. Two stone and an iron are good enough for short to medium trips, while 3-4 stone and 2 iron are good for longer ones.
  • Torches- Vital for lighting caves to prevent mob spawning and give you a lit path! Bring at least a stack.
  • Sword- This is for defense against the mobs. Iron is best.
  • Water Bucket- This is for extinguishing yourself should you catch on fire, and also for crossing lava. Obsidian can be made this way.
  • Armor- Again, for defense. Iron is best.
  • Food- Mining costs a lot of food. Bring something stackable (not Mushroom Stew or Cake) that has good saturation, such as Porkchops. Cookies or Melons are good for keeping your hunger bar consistently high.
  • Shovel- While not as important as the Pickaxe, it's for clearing out Gravel or Dirt veins. For shorter trips, bring one or two stone; for longer ones, an iron will suffice.
  • Night Vision Potions- For caverns you won't come back to, an extended one is plenty.
  • Fire resistance potions- Bring them for accidental Lava incidents.
  • Healing/Regeneration Potions- For combat. Remember undead mobs are hurt by healing and resistant to regeneration!
  • Signs- For marking the way out of the sprawling caves. Getting lost in the mob-infested depths is not safe and is a recipe for a terrible death at the hands of the zombies, skeletons and creepy creepers.

What You Should Get

Ore Unsuccessful Successful Very Successful
Coal 0-10 15-35 45+
Iron 0-3 8-18 25+
Lapis (Items) 0-4 12-24 32+
Redstone (Items) 0-4 20-32 48+
Gold 0-1 5-10 15+
Diamond 0-1 1-3 5+

Note: Lapis and Redstone are measured in items because each ore block drops more than 1.

When In Extreme Hills 

Ore Unsuccessful Successful Very Successful
Emerald 0-1 2-5 8+

When in Nether

Ore Unsuccessful Successful Very Successful
Nether Quartz 3-8 10-20 30+

Types of Mining

Single Shaft

This is very unsafe and advised against. It's just mining straight down. The ore count is generally not very high, and you run a high risk of falling into Lava or another cave. 

Double Shaft

This is a slightly better version of Single Shaft, but still doesn't have a very high ore count. It is basically mining one block, stepping onto it, and mining the one next to it, forming two parallel shafts down to Bedrock.


Again, not a very ore-rich method. It's basically digging down diagonally, like this:

X's are blocks.

  1. xxx  xxx
  2. xxxx xxx
  3. xxxxx xxx
  4. etc., etc.

This method is safe, but not very ore-rich.

Full Steam Ahead

In this one, players dig a 2x1 shaft horizontally until they hit something. It's not too good for getting ore. Note: NEVER use this in the Nether! Since 1.5, pockets of Lava spawn inside Netherrack, leading to a very nasty surprise!

Double Full Steam Ahead

This is just two Full Steam Ahead shafts right next to each other. It is the highest ore counting method of the first five. Again, do not use this in the Nether!

Cave Scouring

In this method, players walk through caves, looking around for ore veins. This allows them to pick and choose, and it also yields a fairly high amount of ore. It is the most common type of mining.

Creeper/TNT Mining

This method uses an explosion to blast a hole in a wall, potentially unearthing ore. However, there's a 2/3 chance that the explosion destroys drops, so use this with caution, and definitely not around valuable resources.

When in nether, leave valuables at home

This includes high level diamond gear, including armour, unless you have fire resist potions, armour, or are building a small base in a large, open area with no dangerous lava. This is because it is likely that you will lose your precious items to lava without them being able to protect you. Also, Netherrack is a very weak block and a diamond pick mines it far too fast, given the number of lava pockets in the nether.