Mining is the foundation of Minecraft, it's in its name after all, and players who neglect mining their world for precious ores in Survival Mode aren't likely to get too far.
Ores are crucial to crafting many of Minecraft's items, but they are not all equal. Certain ores are found in certain areas underground, while others may appear on the surface from time to time. Ores like coal are common and plentiful, while diamonds or Ancient Debris will take some time and effort to find. Before players start mining ores though, they'll need a pickaxe, the most important tool in any Minecraft player's arsenal.
A guide to crafting a pickaxe and mining methods in Minecraft
In order to craft a pickaxe, Minecraft players will need some sticks, which are easily created from wood planks. Punch a few logs from a tree then place them in the crafting menu to craft wood planks. Then, in the same crafting menu, place two wooden planks minimum in slots atop each other which will create sticks. Once players have their sticks, they can create a wooden pickaxe by placing sticks in the center and bottom-center slots of a crafting table while placing three wood planks and filling the top row of slots.
Wooden pickaxes are flimsy and inefficient, so it's likely worth investing in a few stone pickaxes before mining deeply. This is done by mining some cobblestone from stone blocks with a wooden pickaxe, which can then be used in place of wooden planks in a pickaxe's crafting recipe in order to form a stone pickaxe. Stone pickaxes are still a far cry from Minecraft's best mining tool, but they'll serve their purpose in early game situations. Before venturing underground, players will want to mine some coal from the surface in order to create torches by combining them with sticks.
When a player has a few stone pickaxes and torches in their inventory, they can start to mine some ores. Ideally, players will want to dig down into the earth and stone in a stair-like pattern. Once a player is happy with how deep they've mined down, they can begin to create one-block wide, two-block high hallways and branch out from their stairway. As they proceed, players should ensure that their mine is lit with torches to prevent hostile mobs from spawning.
Continue to burrow through the 1x2 hallway, and eventually certain ores should appear along the walls and ceiling. Depending on the height level the player is currently at, different ores are capable of appearing. At higher levels, common ores such as coal and iron should appear regularly. However, for players to get ores such as redstone, gold, Lapis Lazuli, or diamonds and emeralds, they'll need to dig deeper.
In addition to ores in the Overworld, Minecraft's Nether dimension possesses three ores specific to it: Nether Quartz, Nether Gold, and Ancient Debris. All three ores can be found embedded in Netherrack at different heights. Quartz and Nether Gold are easy enough to come by, but Ancient Debris is rare to find even underground.
Once Minecraft players are more established and want to mine with a little more flash and pizzazz, they can use items such as TNT blocks to blow explosive holes underground. These are capable of revealing many ores at once or dropping them outright.
One final piece of advice for new Minecraft players: Do not dig straight down while mining. This can cause an unwary player to fall into a pit or a pool of lava, both of which are common occurrences at lower elevation levels underground.