Ore Processing[edit | edit source]
Smelting[edit | edit source]
Smelting metals in a ceramic Crucible is the earliest form of ore processing. The Crucible also creates alloys including Bronze, Brass, and Tin Alloy. This topic is covered in much greater detail in the Smelting guide.
Early Game Crushing, Washing, and Shredding[edit | edit source]
Initially, ores can be crushed and washed by hand. Breaking an ore block using a Hammer drops one Crushed Ore (or rather, it drops half as many as you would get from a Crusher). This Crushed Ore can be smelted for one and 1/8 ingots of ore, but also deposits an ingot of Stone when thrown into the Crucible. To remove the stone, increase the ore yield slightly by turning it to Purified Ore, and produce byproducts, the Crushed Ore can be dropped into a Cauldron filled with water. A filled cauldron can process three items of ore in this way before needing to be refilled. A Cauldron can be automatically refilled by connecting a water pipe with a capacity of at least 334L. The byproducts from washing Crushed Ores in a cauldron are selected randomly from the ore's Ore Byproducts table and may be in the forms of Nuggets, Tiny Purified Ores, Tiny Dusts, or Chipped Gems.
The Purified Ore can then be smelted for one and 1/4 ingots of ore. Alternately, it can be ground by right-clicking it onto a Mortar for one and 1/4 units of dust, which may simplify the amounts needed for Crucible smelting.
Mechanical Crushing, Washing, Drying, Spinning, and Shredding[edit | edit source]
After obtaining enough Bronze, the Crusher machine can be used to double the amount of Crushed Ore produced by one Ore block. The Crusher also has a chance to output dust corresponding to the type of stone the ore is embedded in. The hardness of the type of stone also affects the speed of the Crusher, where stones that take longer to mine will also take longer to process in the Crusher.
Instead of throwing Crushed Ore into a Cauldron, the Sluice machine can be used to wash the stone and byproducts from the ore. The sluice will take the same amount of time to process each kind of ore, producing both a Purified Ore worth 1.25 units of ore, a number of Tiny Purified Ores corresponding to the ore's Ore Byproducts in roughly equal amounts, and a small amount of Sluice Juice. The Tiny Purified Ores amount to, on average, 0.3 units of various byproducts, and can be further processed for a second level of byproducts.
The Sluice Juice contains trace amounts of metal dust, which can be recovered either by using the Centrifuge to obtain Iron, Copper Tin, Zinc, and Chromium, or by using the Dryer to reduce the juice into Distilled Water and Sluice Sand, which can later be run through the Magnetic Separator to obtain Iron, Neodymium, Nickel, Cobalt, and Manganese. It costs roughly the same amount of energy per liter to produce Distilled Water from Sluice Juice as it does from ordinary Water.
If the Crushed Ore contains any elements that dissolve in Mercury or react with water and Sodium or Potassium Persulfate, it can be placed in a Bath with the respective reagents. This will yield one Purified Ore plus nine tiny piles (1.00 unit) of the soluble element. Generally, ores containing Gold, Silver, or Platinum can be bathed in Mercury, while ores containing Copper, Zinc, Nickel, or Cobalt can be bathed with a Persulfate.
The Purified Ore can be ground in a Mortar to yield 1.25 units of dust, or mechanically ground in a Shredder for an equal amount of dust.
To obtain more byproducts from the Purified Ore, it can instead be run through the Centrifuge to yield one unit of dust plus roughly 0.152 units of each of the ore's first three byproducts, in the form of Tiny Refined Ore. This increases overall yield but decreases the amount of the ore's primary yield.
If the Purified Ore contains any magnetic elements or compounds as byproducts, the Purified Ore can instead be run through the Magnetic Separator to yield one Refined Ore (1.375 units of ore) plus Tiny Purified Ores for each magnetic byproduct. On average, the Separator produces 0.162 units of each magnetic byproduct. This process increases both overall yield and primary yield, but is available somewhat later than the Centrifuge.
If the Purified Ore contains any elements that dissolve in either Sulfuric Acid, Hydrogen Fluoride, Hydrochloric Acid, Aqua Regia, it can instead be dissolved in a Bath with the respective acid. This will yield one Refined Ore, three Tiny Refined Ore, plus a Vitriol, a Vapor, and in some cases Water. The Vitriol can be Electrolyzed at a considerable energy cost to yield one unit of metal per ore. The Vapor will be either Hydrogen (which can be burned or reacted), Carbon Monoxide (which can be electrolyzed for Carbon or simply vented), or Nitrogen Monoxide (which can be recycled into more Nitric Acid and Aqua Regia). Of particular note are the platinum-bearing ores that react with Aqua Regia to produce Platinum Group Sludge. This sludge can be centrifuged as a source of Osmium, Iridium, and Platinum, which may otherwise be scarce. This is an energy-intensive process requiring multiple steps to synthesize the acid and recover the metal from the Vitriol, but increases both overall and primary yield and can also yield byproducts that are not otherwise obtainable.
The Refined Ores produced by various means can be smelted for 1.375 units of ore, or ground in a Shredder for an equal amount of Dust. Grinding Refined Ores in a Mortar only yields 1.333 units of Dust, but does not result in 1/72 Piles of Dust that must be managed.