Ore veins generally replenish their ores after about a month (in-game) if the area is marked as "cleared." Otherwise, it replenishes in 10 days. Some veins (e.g. Ebony) respawn sooner, or later than the one month. Each vein, regardless of ore type, will yield three pieces of ore, and at most two precious gems. In rare cases, some entire mines or locations will not respawn their ores at all.
All ore veins contain three pieces of ore, and possibly some gems. It may seem as though the Dragonborn only receives two ore from each vein because there may only be two messages displayed about ore being received, but three ore are actually received per vein. The sound for receiving an ore still plays on the sixth pickaxe hit, even though a message may not appear. Note: If a precious gem (garnet, ruby, etc.) is received on the sixth hit, the message for the gem is displayed, but not the ore.
There are nine different types of ore that can be mined in Skyrim.
Ore veins are all across the world of Skyrim from simple mines to the tops of mountains. They can be identified as minable by the different colored striations that stand out in the typical grey rocks that dominate the landscape of Skyrim. Environmental conditions can make it somewhat difficult to spot and identify a minable area. When a vein is mined completely, it will lose the colored striations associated to that mineral type.
Locations specific to each ore are noted on the pages below:
- Corundum Ore
- Ebony Ore
- Geode Vein
- Gold Ore
- Iron Ore
- Malachite Ore
- Moonstone Ore
- Orichalcum Ore
- Quicksilver Ore
- Silver Ore
Ore vein reference
Each vein has its own distinctive color and pattern, which disappears after mining is complete, in which case the rock returns to its normal gray color.
|Iron Veins||Vein with reddish-orange, greenish, and white/brown colored striations.|
|Corundum veins||Yellowish-orange striations. Similar to gold and moonstone veins, except more dull in color.|
|Geode veins||Shiny, light blue striations.|
|Orichalcum veins||Deep green striations (similar to Orc skin-color).|
|Ebony veins||White or silvery (oddly enough) colored striations.|
|Quicksilver veins||Shiny, blued silver striations.|
|Moonstone veins||Reddish orange striations. Similar to corundum and gold veins.|
|Malachite veins||Shiny greenish hued striations.|
|Silver veins||Silver, shiny striations, flecked with black.|
|Gold veins||Gold colored striations. Similar to corundum and moonstone veins, except contains a shinier quality.|
Chop wood, mine ore, and cook food
- Mining is also possible by equipping a pickaxe in one hand (or even dual-wielding them with both hands) and then hitting the vein repeatedly. It requires as many hits as it would if the vein was activated, but this goes faster and reaction is quicker if attacked. Note that some veins cannot be mined in this manner.
- Another possible way of mining faster is using the Elemental Fury shout prior to manually hitting the ore with a pickaxe.
- During replenish time, the vein may regain its colored striations, but is unable to be mined. This is just a way to display progression of replenishment, and is no cause for worry.
- Some characters such as Irgnir, a female Nord and Fruki, another female Nord, will work in the mine and very often get in the Dragonborn's way. In their scripts they will arbitrarily mine various ore deposits or bare rocks, and this will cause a glitch. Killing these characters has no bearing on the storyline or game progress. Their dialogue options are short and simple, they offer no assistance and no loot, and carry no armor. Killing them will allow free uninterrupted access to everything within the mine. However one can simply mine by hitting the ore vein with a pick axe as mentioned above or simply wait/mine the rest of the mine while waiting. This method dose not involve the risk of a bounty or the other repercussions of murdering innocents.
- In the Markarth prison, Cidhna Mine, mining ore completes any jail sentence.
- Time does not stop while mining, and so health, stamina and magicka will continue regenerating while mining.
When the Dragonborn starts to mine, they will continually dig, but no messages for receiving the ore will be displayed and mining will continue unless interrupted.
- This can be fixed by equipping the pickaxe and manually "attacking" the ore vein.
- ore received," it will only show twice, but three will have been received (all veins yield three ore). However, the "ore received" sound will occur all three times. When the message in the top left of the screen displays "
- If a pickaxe is equipped and, rather than "attacking" the ore vein to mine, the vein is activated to mine normally, the pickaxe will stay equipped, but a second pickaxe will be used to do the mining. This second pickaxe is not kept—the glitch is purely visual.
Occasionally, hitting the activate key a second time before mining starts will cause mining to halt after a moment with no ores gained. The vein will still appear ready for mining complete with contextual activate command, but pressing activate again will do nothing.
- This is fixable by equipping a pickaxe and "attacking" the ore vein.
- Occasionally, the Dragonborn will only hit the ore once and not gain any ore.
- This is easily solved by hitting the vein with a pickaxe, but the option to mine will still be there.
- Sometimes, when mining in cramped quarters and a follower is immediately behind, when the mining animation starts, the follower will appear on the Dragonborn's back and stay there the entire time.
- Some veins may not show any option to be mined even after 10 or 30 days and their colored striations have already appeared. Two ways to fix this:
- For outdoor veins, fast travel to nearby location and approach the veins again.
- For indoor veins such as inside various mines, exit and re-enter the area to enable the option.
- At a rare occasion, pressing movement or activation key when the vein is depleted but the mining animation has not finished will cause the Dragonborn to return to mining of a freshly depleted vein. Like any normal mining, this process can be interrupted by pressing a movement key.