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.

  • because they're lazy and you don't pay them enough :p
    – erik
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 15:26

4 Answers 4


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.
  • If someone wants to break up the text so it's more readable, be my guest.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 12:01
  • HALP there's raccoon blood everywhere... Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 12:33
  • @Mechko I thought that was a good sign?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 13:29
  • Ross yes, but its dirty, now Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 13:54
  • I had a downwards stair built upwards or something. I built an up/down stair and now it works. Commented Aug 12, 2010 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.


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.


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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