April 11, 2016 - stardew valley, guides

Stardew Valley Mining Guide

Mining in Stardew Valley is relatively simple and rather enjoyable. Due to the randomness of the mining areas (most areas are somewhat randomly generated), it takes quite a bit of time to get stale.

General Information

The general idea behind mining is to use your pickaxe to smash rocks. You're guarenteed stone by doing this and have a small chance at getting gems and/or geodes from rocks.

Four types of geodes exist in Stardew Valley (geode, frozen geode, magma geode, and omni geode) and all can be broken by the blacksmith for 25g each. Geodes are a good source of minerals, higher level ores, and coal.

The blacksmith can upgrade your pickaxe with the following materials, it will take two days to finish:

Pickaxe Cost Benefits
Pickaxe Default Breaks stones
Copper Pickaxe 2,000g
5 Copper Bars
Breaks large stones; breaks heavier rocks and ores slightly faster.
Iron Pickaxe 5,000g
5 Iron Bar
Unlocks Dwarf (east area in Mines); breaks heavier rocks and ore faster.
Gold Pickaxe 10,000g
5 Gold Bar
Breaks heavier rocks and ore much faster.
Iridium Pickaxe 25,000g
5 Iridium Bar
Breaks heavier rocks and ore extremely fast.

Note: Clint is unavailable during tool upgrades, so make sure you buy ore and coal or break the geodes in your inventory before upgrading a tool.

As the above table suggests, there is an eastern area in the mines that's blocked by a rock at the beginning of the game. Upgrade your pickaxe to break it; you can also use a bomb. It unlocks Dwarf, who sells some mining/combat food and a rarecrow.

Professions
TLDR: Geologist -> Excavator (or Miner -> Prospector)

Your mining skll is leveled up by breaking rocks with the pickaxe or by using bombs.

Level Option Option
Level 5 Miner - +1 ore per vein. Geologist - Chance for gems to appear in pairs.
Level 10 Blacksmith - Metal bars worth 50% more. Prospector - Coal find doubled. Excavator - Geode find doubled. Gemologist - Gems worth 30% more.

As far as the profession choices go, you have two good options. Miner into prospector is great for making large amounts of equipment like kegs, bee houses, and preserves jars for your farm. The other option is Geologist into Excavator as geodes provide pretty good rewards, especially iridium ore. Blacksmith and gemologist aren't as good since money is rarely an issue later in the game and I don't know why you'd ever want to sell metal bars.

Since coal can be purchased from the blacksmith, prospector's value is diminished a little bit (and again, you can assume that money won't be a problem later on), so I'd lean towards Geologist and Excavator as the best mining professions in the game.

Just ignore blacksmith because you should never sell metal bars and gems aren't common enough to make gemologist worthwhile. You might be able to make a bunch of crystalariums and mass produce diamonds, but by that point, money isn't really the issue.

Smelting

A furnace is required to smelt ore into metal bars and requires the following materials:

Remember that you can place furnaces in the top level of the mines and is great place to smelt the higher level ores since they take much longer to make (and you should have plenty of copper for multiple furnaces by that point).

Item Ingredients Time
Copper Bar 5 copper ore
1 coal
1/2 hour
Refined Quartz 1 quartz
1 coal
1.5 hours
Iron Bar 5 iron ore
1 coal
2 hours
Gold Bar 5 gold ore
1 coal
5 hours
Iridium Bar 5 iridium ore
1 coal
8 hours

Note: It's much easier to use a recycling machine to get refined quartz. See the fishing guide for more information.

Mining Equipment

The following equipment can be crafted as your mining skill increases. Bombs are required for killing mummies in Skull Cavern, staircases make it possible to skip difficult levels in mining areas, and the crystalarium makes copies of gems and other mining resources (reducing your need to farm them).

Bombs

Bombs are useful for blowing up high densities of rocks and ore. Cherry bombs are available at mining level 1, bombs at level 6, and mega bombs at level 8 and require the following materials:

Cherry Bomb (lvl 1)

  • 4 copper ore
  • 1 coal

Bomb (lvl 6)

  • 4 iron ore
  • 1 coal

Mega Bomb (lvl 8)

  • 4 gold ore
  • 1 solar essence
  • 1 dark essence

Cherry Bombs have a radius of 3 tiles, bombs have a radius of 5 tiles, and a megabomb has a radius of 6-8 tiles.

Staircase

A staircase allows you to instantly move down one level in the mines (or Skull Cavern). It's unlocked at mining level 2 and can be crafted with the following materials:

Staircases are best used when in a pinch or feeling particularly lazy on a difficult level since 99 stone is somewhat costly (one staircase is about 2,000g).

Theoretically, you could buy 11,800 stone from the carpenter for about 240,000g to hit the bottom of the mines without using a pickaxe. Don't do it though, you'd miss out on quite a bit of rewards.

Crystalarium

The crystalarium makes copies of minerals placed inside. It is unlocked at mining level 9 and can be crafted with the following materials:

While crystalariums are extremely expensive to make, it's still a good idea to have a few of them around. Generally speaking, the following minerals are best for the crystalarium:

Mining Areas

Stardew Valley has a few different locations for mining. Each area has its own advantages and disadvantages.

There are two rules to remember:

The general stategy for exploring the mines or skull cavern should be the following until you find a way down:

  1. Look around for high reward nodes, like quartz, ore, and minerals.
  2. Kill all the enemies on the level
  3. Start smashing rocks; make a staircase if you have excess stone in your inventory and want to preseve energy.

The Mines

The mines are located in the north east part of Stardew Valley. It becomes available after Joja employees remove a rockslide around the 5th day of the first spring.

The elevator saves your progress in the mines every 5 levels and is extremely handy when farming certain materials.

Tip: You can place equipment in the mines, so think about placing a chest for storing coal and ore along with a few furnances near the mine cart/next to the elevator. This is a convenient place for processing ore without taking up too much space on your farm.

Levels

The mine is 120 levels deep, with various monsters and rewards to each level or subset of levels. The following table breaks it down:

Level(s) Enemies Treasure Notes
0 - - Has a mine cart and an elevator.
The Dwarf is located to the east of the blocked passage (use a bomb or steel pickaxe to open it up)
This is where you can place furnaces to smelt ore into bars.
1-9 Green slimes, duggies, bugs, bats, rock crabs - You can find amethyst, topaz, quartz, and earth crystal starting here.
10 - Leather Boots -
11-19 Green slimes, duggies, bugs, bats, rock crabs, grubs, cave flies - Cave flies are annoying if you don't have a strong weapon, try to kill grub before they transform.
20 - Steel Smallsword Underground lake for fishing for ghost fish, stone fish, and trash.
21-29 Green slimes, duggies, bugs, bats, rock crabs, grubs, cave flies - -
30 - - -
31-39 Bats, golems   Dark area, bring a torch or glow ring.
Consider farming copper ore in these levels.
Last level for normal geodes.
40 - Slingshot -
41-49 Frost jellies, frost bats, dust sprites - Frozen geodes become available.
Aquamarine, Frozen Tear, and Jade are common.
50 - Tundra Boots  
51-59 Frost jellies, frost bats, dust sprites.   Diamonds become available.
Best levels for mining coal (especially level 52, where there's a guarenteed bag of coal); kill dust sprites for coal.
60 - Crystal Dagger Underground lake for fishing for ghost fish, ice pip, and trash.
61-69 Frost jellies, frost bats, dust sprites, ghosts - Equip high damage weapons, like mallets, to fight ghosts
70 - Master Slingshot -
71-79 Frost jellies, frost bats, dust sprites, ghosts, skeletons - Best area for mining iron ore.
Last level for frozen geodes.
80 - Firewalker Boots  
81-89 Sludges, lava bats, lava crabs, shadow brutes, void spirits, metal heads, squid kids - Gold ore becomes available.
Magma geodes begin to appear.
Emeralds, fire quartz, and rubies are common.
90 - Obsidian Edge Best weapon from the mines, you should try to rush to the level, then go back to the 30s, 50s, and 70s to farm copper, coal, and iron respectively.
91-99 Sludges, lava bats, lava crabs, shadow brutes, void spirits, metal heads, squid kids    
100 - Stardrop Underground lake for fishing for ghost fish, lava eel, and trash. Most profitable fishing area in the game.
101-109 Sludges, lava bats, lava crabs, shadow brutes, void spirits, metal heads, squid kids - Best area to mine gold ore.
110 - Space Boots Best boots (stats-wise) in the game.
111-119 Sludges, lava bats, lava crabs, shadow brutes, void spirits, metal heads, squid kids - Levels 115+ have a very small chance of spawning iridium ore nodes.
120 - The Skull Key Last floor of the mines.

For more information regarding monsters, check out the Combat Guide. 

Farming Locations

35-40 for earth crystal and copper

50-55 for coal and ironore

115+ runs for gold, fire quartz, diamonds, etc.

Skull Cavern

Skull Cavern is located in the north west area of Calico Desert and requires The Skull Key (from finding the bottom of the mines) to enter. You must repair the bus by completing the vault in the community center to gain access to the desert; the total cost of reparing the bus is 42,500g.

This area is extremely dangerous but offers the best rewards for mining. The chance of iridium ore increases significantly every ten levels (and maxes at level 100), so it's best to travel down as quickly as possible (bring lots of stone to craft staircases). Bring some bombs so you can actually kill mummies.

Winter is a great time to explore Calico Desert and Skull Cavern since there is little to do in Stardew Valley during that season (and for the record, it's probably better to fish on rainy days than explore the mines after you've hit the bottom).

For more information regarding Skull Cavern, check out the Combat Guide. 

The Quarry

The quarry is located in the far northeast part of Stardew Valley, east of the Mines and Fighter's Guild. The bridge to the quarry is broken and can be repaired by completing the crafts room in the community center. The following bundles must be completed:

Spring Foraging Bundle

All of the following items:

  • Wild Horseradish
  • Daffodil
  • Leek
  • Dandelion

Summer Foraging Bundle

All of the following items:

  • Grape
  • Spice Berry
  • Sweat Pea

Fall Foraging Bundle

All of the following items:

  • Common Mushroom
  • Wild Plum
  • Hazelnut
  • Blackberry

Winter Foraging Bundle

All of the following items:

  • Winter Root
  • Crystal Fruit
  • Snow Yam
  • Crocus

Construction Bundle

All of the following items:

  • 99 Wood
  • 99 Wood
  • 99 Stone
  • 10 Hardwood

Exotic Foraging Bundle

6 of the following items:

  • Coconut
  • Cactus Fruit
  • Cave Carrot
  • Red Mushroom
  • Purple Mushroom
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oak Resin
  • Pine Resin
  • Morel

Check out the Community Center Walkthrough for a complete breakdown of the community center.

The initial benefit of the quarry is a lot of easily accessible rock, ore, and minerals; any level ore can be found here, from copper to iridium. This area is completely safe, there are no monsters here, and it's accessible using the mine cart.

After unlocking the quarry, make sure to clear it out completely. Once the initial clear is done, it takes quite a bit of time to respawn to a level worth revisisting.

While it's best to clear the quarry every day to prevent potential valuable spawns from being blocked by existing rocks, it's probably not worth the time to travel there and walk through the entire quarry. Instead, make it a point to visit the quarry once per week to clear it out again; this is a better balance than just breaking 3-5 rocks and a mineral deposit or two every day.

Closing Thoughts

Mining is a great way to supplement your income and spend your time playing Stardew Valley. Just remember to make a few crystalariums to supplement your mining rewards and make crafting a bit easier (earth crystal and gold quality fire quartz for sure, gems are optional).

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