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Minecraft Mining in Depth – Layouts, Diamonds, and MORE

What you need before you start

Before you start mining, you have to think about what you will need while down there. Always remember to bring a stack of wood. Wood can help you get out of a sticky situation like being stuck down a hole.

You will also need lots of food. You’re sure to get hungry during a long mining exhibition. You will also need torches. Torches are vital to make sure monsters don’t spawn in the dark. Finally, bring some water. Water will be used to put out lava. This will make it easier to mine for obsidian.

What minerals can I mine?

There are a lot of minerals you can mine in Minecraft. Below is a table of all the minerals and where to find them. Including where to find diamonds, emerald and more.

MineralWhere to find
IronMost commonly found under a beach or desert. Iron ore cannot be mined with a wooden pickaxe. Players need a stone pickaxe or better to mine Iron.
CoalCoal can be found 4 levels down. It is quite common throughout the world so you shouldn’t have any issues finding it. You can also make charcoal by burning wood in a furnace. This acts the same as normal coal.
Lapiz Most commonly found near an underground ravine. It can most commonly be found at a depth of 31 and under. Players will need at least a stone ax to mine Lapiz.
RedstoneIt can be most commonly found deep under the map. In at least the bottom 16 layers. Players will need at least an Iron ax to mine Redstone.
GoldFound most commonly at a depth of 32 laters from the bottom of the map. Players will need an Iron ax or better to mine gold.
EmeraldEmerald can only be found in the mountain biomes. It can be found between a depth of 4 and 32. Emerald is very rare and can only be found in single blocks. Players need an Iron pickax or better to mine emerald.
DiamondDiamond is most likely to be found at around level 12. It is also theoretically more likely to find diamonds one block above lava. Players need an Iron pickax or better to mine diamond.

Types of Mining

There are many different ways to mine in Minecraft. Each way has its own pros and cons. Let’s look at three of the most popular ways to mine in Minecraft below.

Branch Mining – the most efficient

This is certainly the most efficient way to mine. Branch mining involves digging down into the ground. Making a long tunnel perpendicular to the exit tunnel. Then making several more tunnels that branch off from the main tunnel.

Leave 3 block gaps between each tunnel. This will ensure the maximum probability of ore vines spawning.

Cave Mining

Cave mining is quite straight forward. You will come across many caves throughout your journey in Minecraft. Simply, start exploring the cave and mine what you find.

Caves are dark and full of hostile mobs so be careful. Don’t forget to place torches down regularly to prevent mobs from spawning. You are also going to bump into mobs like creepers and zombies regularly whether it is dark or not. So make sure to have your sword on the ready.

Shaft Mining

When mining using the shaft method it is important not to mine directly down. You could fall into anything below. It is best to mine down in a staircase pattern. This way it is easy to get back. You can simply walk back up to the top.

You can also shaft mine down in a 2×1 pattern. This is probably the riskiest method to use as your digging directly down. Remember to build ladders regularly to get back up to the top.

Excavation Mining

Excavation mining is exactly what it sounds. Look for a big open plain of stone. Dig one block down over an area of about 6×6. Keep digging down one block within that 6×6 area. This method yields the maximum amount of ore. An excavation site can be enormous. It depends on how big you make it. This is a very large open area so lighting it as much as possible is advised. Light will stop hostile mobs from spawning.

Top tips when mining

Build stairs into the mine

When you start off mining. It’s important to build good stairs to get into your mine. I recommend making full block stairs with a 4 block gap.

This will make sure you don’t hit your head on the way down, which can get annoying. You can also build actual stairs with stairs blocks. This will make it much quicker to get back up. You will use much less energy this way too.

Keep a storage area

At the bottom of the mine, it’s a good idea to build a storage area. Here you can keep chests to store your valuables. Another good idea is to have an ender chest to store diamond and gold. After each excavation, go back and deposit your diamonds and other rare items here.

The great thing about ender chests is that their contents can be accessed from anywhere in the world. So if you die or get lost you can spawn your contents anywhere.

Another great device to have in your storage space is a furnace. A furnace allows you to turn the ore you have collected into ingots. This will save you a lot of space in your inventory in the long run. 

Putting out lava

When you encounter lava, its always a great idea to throw water on it. This will extinguish the lava. Then you can mine for obsidian more easily.  Keep an eye out for diamond ores near lava. It is much more likely to spawn here.

Torch distribution 

You can’t forget about torches when you start to mine. Remember that torches will not only provide light but also stop mobs from spawning. When torching your mine.

Make sure to place a torch just when it gets pitch dark. This will ensure the perfect distribution of torches. As a result, saving your resources in the long run.

Digging up and digging down

When digging up, make use of a ladder. You can dig above you, place a ladder, climb up and dig more. However, be very careful, things like sand can fall from above and hit you causing damage. 

Digging down is certainly controversial in Minecraft. Some people will tell you to never dig down. Because frankly, you could get stuck, or even worse. You could dig into a ravine or other cave and fall to your death.

That’s why it’s best to dig down two blocks wide. Stand in the middle of the two blocks and hit either side while looking down. This will ensure you can always see one block ahead of where you stand.

Turning on Subtitles

Subtitles are a great way to know where things are before you can see them. When they are on, game narration pops up in the right-hand corner of your screen.

This tells you if there is lava, mobs and pretty much everything else nearby. Try it out.

Tunnel structure and organization 

When making tunnels keep your tunnels three blocks apart. The reason for this is that ore blocks don’t typically spawn in one block wide patterns. So keeping enough distance between your tunnels will ensure you always have resources to mine. This applies to all mining methods.

Mark your tunnels

Moreover, you should always mark your tunnels correctly. This will make sure you don’t get lost on the way back up. Don’t forget to mark your main exit tunnel different from other tunnels. 

Pro Tip: When placing torches, always place the torch to your left. This way when you want to go back or exit the mine. You can follow the torches to the right, which is the RIGHT way back.

Always minimize inventory

You can save a lot of space in your inventory by turning your items into blocks. For example, chunks of diamonds, lapis, coal, and other minerals can all be turned into blocks. You can do this with a crafting table. You can then stack the blocks to make even more space in your inventory.


Following these tips and information will certainly make your mining life easier in Minecraft. Remember to take your time mining. Look carefully and don’t forget to place torches.

Other Useful Minecraft Guides
Survive your first day in Minecraft Survival
Fastest Way to Travel in Minecraft
How to Start a Farm in Minecraft


4 thoughts on “Minecraft Mining in Depth – Layouts, Diamonds, and MORE”

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