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I've created two copper picks to help my dwarves mine, but they refuse to pick them up. What am I doing wrong?

EDIT: I do have them set to be miners and I do have a dig area set.

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because they're lazy and you don't pay them enough :p – espais Aug 11 '10 at 15:26
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You need two things in addition to the picks.

  • Dwarves with the mining labor enabled, as explained here.
    • The dwarves might be busy with other things, try turning off other labors.
  • An area designated for digging.
    • You can designate an area for digging by pressing d, d and selecting an area to be mined. This is easiest if you have an exposed hillside on the map. If not you may need to go down a z level and designate ramps up (d, r) next to your mining area.
    • The dwarves must be able to path to this digging area. If it is separated by z-levels, you must add stairs or ramps.
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If someone wants to break up the text so it's more readable, be my guest. – C. Ross Aug 11 '10 at 12:01
HALP there's raccoon blood everywhere... – mechko Aug 11 '10 at 12:33
@Mechko I thought that was a good sign? – C. Ross Aug 11 '10 at 13:29
Ross yes, but its dirty, now – mechko Aug 11 '10 at 13:54
I had a downwards stair built upwards or something. I built an up/down stair and now it works. – mechko Aug 12 '10 at 0:41

Are you using Dwarf Therapist by any chance? That had a bug where enabling Mining via DT didn't get the dwarves to actually do anything, and you had to disable and re-enable Mining via the game's interface (as in C. Ross's answer).

Another thing to check is whether the picks are not, for some strange reason, forbidden.

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Are they able to get to the dig area? I sometimes marked a whole area to be mined, but missed a square connecting it up to the existing walls, so they didn't have a first tile to start digging at.

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Try turning off the mining labor, unpausing, then turning mining back on for the miner in question (while having a pick that is NOT designated to be dumped, melted, forbidden, or "TSK" (being moved by another dwarf to another stock pile) and having an easily accessible area to dig out)

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