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greylark
01-11-2012, 22:33
Anyone have any sources or info about what this would involve or look like..

agurus1
01-11-2012, 22:57
I imagine strip mining combined with the worse possible conditions of turn of the century coal mines, mixed with loads of power cables, gothic tunnel supports, Mechanicus machinery and the like.

BTJ
01-11-2012, 23:07
Don't forget the fact that mines are also prisons

Cthell
01-11-2012, 23:37
Well, the Ciaphas Cain book "Caves of Ice" is mostly set in an imperial Promethium mine, and gives some ideas of what it's like (actually not that bad, assuming you don't mind the cold. There's still the usual risks of cave-ins, but there doesn't appear to be a risk of methane explosion, so it's probably safer than contemporary coal mining)

Strip mining seems to have been more of a "dark age of technology" thing (I'm mainly basing this on Mars, but I'm sure there are other examples), particularly since it depends on massive machinery; in M41 the imperium seems more happy to send men chasing seams through tiny tunnels.

unwanted
01-11-2012, 23:37
Don't forget the fact that mines are also prisons

Not all of them, by a long stretch. But if you want an idea of the visual impact, just look up strip-mining from all over, as well as Fracking and the Canadian Tar Sands. Some of the most horribly destructive forms of mining imaginable. Also, anything from the former USSR should work.

BTJ
01-11-2012, 23:55
Not all of them, by a long stretch. But if you want an idea of the visual impact, just look up strip-mining from all over, as well as Fracking and the Canadian Tar Sands. Some of the most horribly destructive forms of mining imaginable. Also, anything from the former USSR should work.

A fair chunk of them are. That or slave labour essentially. Actually, get the purge the unclean book from FFG for Dark Heresy, there's an adventure set on a mining world that might be of use ;)

Retrospectus
02-11-2012, 00:27
read "dead men walking" one of the characters owns a mine and visits it early on. It seems to be mostly human workers supplemented by servitors for the difficult/dangerous bits. the also use drills, pickaxes and explosives much like today

ForgottenLore
02-11-2012, 01:44
I don't remember if it has much in the way of specifics, but Taros in Imperial Armour 3 is a mining world. I think I remember the story giving some indications of the management and it's relationship with the imperial governor

Voss
02-11-2012, 01:49
Don't forget the fact that mines are also prisons

It would vary a lot from planet to planet. Some certainly are. Some... well. It can get weird pretty fast. AdMech mines would be servitors and various high-tech gear. Some low tech worlds would be slaves and copper picks, with shotgun armed overseers. The hive worlds literally scavenge metals from the lowest (buried) levels of the cities. Pretty much anything you can imagine would be a go somewhere.

Lord Squidar
02-11-2012, 05:58
In the congo today there is diamond mining where guys have to dive underwater using a garden hose attached to a manual pump for an airsupply. They are completely blind in the murk and have to feel along the river bed for diamonds, and put those in their mouth until they can come to the surface at the end of their shift. Mining in the 41st millenium is probably worse than this.

Chem-Dog
02-11-2012, 06:27
A lot depends, I suppose, on who is mining for what, where.
Private enterprise, Planetary government or Imperial organisation? This would inform the size of an operation, the techniques utilised and the type of manpower most likely involved.

Inhabited world (friendly/neutral), Inhabited world (hostile), Uninhabited world or Ball of rock in space? Again would, to some degree, decide the type of process. A barren world or one that isn't occupied by friendlies might need to ship workers in, an unfriendly or inhospitable world would necessitate protection of the mines at additional expense. Workers might need to be skilled (if working in exotic conditions that require specialist gear, for example).

Essential resource, valuable resource, mundane resource or commodity? If it's a financial venture, the pay-out has to be good enough to warrant the investment. Mining for coal on a world might be great for a mining firm under contract to a Planetary Governor, a Governor himself might even see value in it, but the Adeptus Mechanicus or the Administratum would have less reason to put any effort into it directly, they'd be more likely to pay contractors to do it using their own influences to make the endeavour rewarding.

How hazardous is what's being mined? Again, this would inform who is mining it and how.

Once you know those things, you can begin to decide how the mine itself would look. But at the moment it can be anything from highly trained miners working for a private concern with a ton of safety gear and flashy mining equipment to a slave labour camp full of criminals or mutants put to work by a tyrant planetary ruler where life expectancy is measured in weeks.

Sai-Lauren
02-11-2012, 09:47
A lot depends, I suppose, on who is mining for what, where.
Private enterprise, Planetary government or Imperial organisation? This would inform the size of an operation, the techniques utilised and the type of manpower most likely involved.

Inhabited world (friendly/neutral), Inhabited world (hostile), Uninhabited world or Ball of rock in space? Again would, to some degree, decide the type of process. A barren world or one that isn't occupied by friendlies might need to ship workers in, an unfriendly or inhospitable world would necessitate protection of the mines at additional expense. Workers might need to be skilled (if working in exotic conditions that require specialist gear, for example).

Essential resource, valuable resource, mundane resource or commodity? If it's a financial venture, the pay-out has to be good enough to warrant the investment. Mining for coal on a world might be great for a mining firm under contract to a Planetary Governor, a Governor himself might even see value in it, but the Adeptus Mechanicus or the Administratum would have less reason to put any effort into it directly, they'd be more likely to pay contractors to do it using their own influences to make the endeavour rewarding.

How hazardous is what's being mined? Again, this would inform who is mining it and how.

Once you know those things, you can begin to decide how the mine itself would look. But at the moment it can be anything from highly trained miners working for a private concern with a ton of safety gear and flashy mining equipment to a slave labour camp full of criminals or mutants put to work by a tyrant planetary ruler where life expectancy is measured in weeks.
Indeed, the first two words that should have been in the response are "It depends..."

Another question to ask is where is it? If it's relatively close to the surface, then it'll be strip mines. Deeper, and the amount of work needed to rip the landscape apart getting it isn't worth the effort, so they'll make normal mines.

Also, how much of it is there? A gold seam might only be inches in cross-section, making smaller mines that can follow the seam much more practical, whilst a coal seam could be many millions of cubic meters.

But, to give a possible example of the upper end, let's assume it's Iron ore in moderately deep seams, the world is mainly agricultural (so no strip mining), moderately well populated and fairly socially minded, so worker safety is high, and the mine is owned by a planet-based mining corporation who give 30% to the planetary governor as tax (which goes into his tithe), and sell the remainder to both the Imperium and industrial corporations (both on and off world) for enough money to pay all the workers a decent wage and make a profit. In this case, you're looking at deep tunnels, wide close to the lift, but narrowing down closer to the work faces, with armoured power and air feeds hanging off regularly spaced reinforcing arches, little cubby holes for rescue gear every few hundred meters, and a deep level medical station next to the lift shaft.

The workers themselves would be fairly well equipped, helmets, leather padding on their shoulders to absorb blows from small falling rocks, toxic gas sensors on their wrists with a short duration breathing mask slung around their necks, and a personal emergency kit on their belts. Tools would range from simple picks, shovels and hammers through jackhammers to industrial lasers to vaporise rock.

MajorWesJanson
02-11-2012, 18:46
Given the scale of the Imperium, basically anything you can imagine will be used somewhere. Everything from slaves digging with hands and picks in a dark dank tunnel to say mechanicus adepts carefully scanning the subsurface terrain then teleporting out the desired chunks of mineral after hours of calculations and chanting to precisely fix the coordinates of a mere few ounces of unobtanium.

Idaan
02-11-2012, 19:12
Indeed, the first two words that should have been in the response are "It depends..."I think we should have a bot that automatically responds with these words to any thread entitled "X in 40k" or "X in the Imperium".

unwanted
02-11-2012, 19:20
A fair chunk of them are. That or slave labour essentially. Actually, get the purge the unclean book from FFG for Dark Heresy, there's an adventure set on a mining world that might be of use ;)

A "fair chunk" is very different from "the fact that mines are also prisons". I was disagreeing with the blanket statement, not with the premise that forced/slave/prison-labour is most likely very common.

El_Machinae
03-11-2012, 23:57
I try to remember both that 'mining' is usually a temporary resource for a planet and that the Imperium is old.

Suppose a planet is found with some useful resource. Thousands of people would be immigrated onto the planet in order to be the workers. They'd form some type of civilization. Then, they'd go out and mine all of those precious resources for the Emperor. Because their rates of extraction and rates of shipping are technologically dependent, the bureaucrats would ensure that new ships are always arriving and are bringing new equipment.

Fast-forwards a few centuries ... all of the affordable mining is finished. The planet is no longer really exporting, so they're no longer importing new equipment, either. What does this mean? Well, it's not like the population would be exported - that would be too expensive to do for all of them. So, there will be a remaining civilization without technological imports or any useful extractive resources. In other words, it would be a dead-end medieval world that's going to have lost its history within a few thousand years.

If this happened in 36k, then by 40k, it would just be an uncivilized world full of iron-age (or less) technology!

Cthell
04-11-2012, 08:41
I try to remember both that 'mining' is usually a temporary resource for a planet and that the Imperium is old.

Suppose a planet is found with some useful resource. Thousands of people would be immigrated onto the planet in order to be the workers. They'd form some type of civilization. Then, they'd go out and mine all of those precious resources for the Emperor. Because their rates of extraction and rates of shipping are technologically dependent, the bureaucrats would ensure that new ships are always arriving and are bringing new equipment.

Fast-forwards a few centuries ... all of the affordable mining is finished. The planet is no longer really exporting, so they're no longer importing new equipment, either. What does this mean? Well, it's not like the population would be exported - that would be too expensive to do for all of them. So, there will be a remaining civilization without technological imports or any useful extractive resources. In other words, it would be a dead-end medieval world that's going to have lost its history within a few thousand years.

If this happened in 36k, then by 40k, it would just be an uncivilized world full of iron-age (or less) technology!

Except that the imperium isn't in the business of capitalism (Note - the Imperium as an organisation, not an all-inclusive term for its inhabitants). The administratum sets tithes, and doesn't care how they are met, as long as they are met.

Since it seems likely that it would be easier to pursuade the Ecclesiarcy that the Emperor was a woman than to get the Administratum to accept that your mines are worked out, I expect many planets are forced to dig through increasingly poor ores to meet the Tithe requirements, in order to avoid the IG being sent in.

"Affordable" for mining is a lot more restrictive when you have to pay the miners, and have to minimise the environmental impact; when you can drive the workforce down the mine at gunpoint, and happily blast a mountain range to dust to make it easier to transport to the refinery, there are probably very few ore grades that you can't mine

El_Machinae
04-11-2012, 12:10
Sure, fine. But you could probably only eke out another few centuries with such efforts. After that, it wouldn't be of any use to send the Imperial Guard. Or, even if it was, you'd not send them more than a few dozen times. That's at most an additional millennium of 'civilization'. A few thousand years later, it's just a wasted world with farmers and people on horses.

Griefbringer
04-11-2012, 15:34
Don't forget that even simple solar systems are big places. If the main planet of the system starts to run low on easily exploited ores, they can try to form mining colonies on other planets, moons and asteroids of the system. That is, if they have the necessary technological resources: in-system spacecraft to get around the solar system, and the ability to operate in the more hostile environments (like vacuum or non-breathable atmospheres).

Of course such small, isolated and remote colonies scattered around the system can be vulnerable to attacks by pirates or xenos raiders, so they might warrant having basic defences of their own. In desperate situations the miners might find themselves being forced to use some of the more powerful mining equipment itself to protect themselves from the attackers in a vicious close quarters combat in the mining tunnels. Plenty of gaming potential here (not to mention the possibility of discovered ancient artifacts, genestealer infestations, hidden underground Necron tombs, infiltration by chaos cultists or a myriad of other odd events that tend to always have happen for such small, isolated colonies).

But back to the big scene, there is plenty of interesting equipment that could be found in the hands of skilled miners on civilized worlds. For example the various tunneling vehicles used by Imperial Guard - there are probably similar designs used for mining purposes in some of the biggest and most advanced mines that can be found across the Imperium.

Retrospectus
04-11-2012, 15:48
Is anyone else thinking of the Headbangers from Brutal Legend?

Chem-Dog
05-11-2012, 02:16
Indeed, the first two words that should have been in the response are "It depends..."

The same is true of about 49% of posts in Background though ;)


I try to remember both that 'mining' is usually a temporary resource for a planet and that the Imperium is old.

Intermittent communication with the Imperium, dwindling technological capabilities and population could render any number of worlds virtually virgin with regards to their extractable resources, if your planet has regressed to any kind of pre-industrial level, it's down to guys with sieves squatting in creeks.
Mining is only a temporary resource if you're one planet alone, the second you're part of a galactic empire every last resource need you have is able to be met.


On a related note, I was thinking about this today and it's vaguely related. A lot of GW stuff seems to suggest high levels of volcanic activity lead to some sort of ever lasting (or at least greatly extended) mineral wealth, it this in any way supported by actual geology?
If so, is it possible the Imperium would actually be able to "bleed" planets for their mineral wealth, either by directly syphoning off the liquid centres or agitating seismic activity and harvesting what spills from the cracks? Worlds that cannot be colonised could literally be dismantled, and the sheer volume of a planet that exists down below it's crust would yield stupendous quantities of useful materials.

Sai-Lauren
05-11-2012, 08:57
I think we should have a bot that automatically responds with these words to any thread entitled "X in 40k" or "X in the Imperium".
Probably :)


I try to remember both that 'mining' is usually a temporary resource for a planet and that the Imperium is old.

Suppose a planet is found with some useful resource. Thousands of people would be immigrated onto the planet in order to be the workers. They'd form some type of civilization. Then, they'd go out and mine all of those precious resources for the Emperor. Because their rates of extraction and rates of shipping are technologically dependent, the bureaucrats would ensure that new ships are always arriving and are bringing new equipment.

Fast-forwards a few centuries ... all of the affordable mining is finished. The planet is no longer really exporting, so they're no longer importing new equipment, either. What does this mean? Well, it's not like the population would be exported - that would be too expensive to do for all of them. So, there will be a remaining civilization without technological imports or any useful extractive resources. In other words, it would be a dead-end medieval world that's going to have lost its history within a few thousand years.

If this happened in 36k, then by 40k, it would just be an uncivilized world full of iron-age (or less) technology!
Not necessarily - it doesn't really make much sense to dig the ore up on one world, then export it in bulk to another world for refining and processing, so chances are there'd be refinerys and factorys on world to do that, and the world would become a trade hub - taking finished goods out and bringing food, water and sub components in. To what scale depends on the initial availability of the resources - below a certain level, then once they're gone, the world may wither and die, with only effectively a caretaker population left.

Once the mineral resources are gone, the factories will still remain, and IMO, this is how a Hive World like Necromunda started - massive mineral resources that originally attracted colonisation, that have been tapped out over millenia, but the factories remain as a critical mass that's too important to just ignore and close off, and too bulky to move closer to the new resource locations.

El_Machinae
05-11-2012, 10:16
What exportables would those factories make if there's not really much mineral extraction going on? I guess there could be a divergence: systems with other extractable resources (that require high-technology to access) would 'bloom' to become hive worlds. Systems with limited extractables only on the habitable biosphere would eventually whither to become low-tech worlds.

chem-dog: your ability to have your needs met by the Empire are limited by the ability to trade something useful. The reason why the Imperium has so many of these 'sword & spear' worlds is because they've nothing that the Empire wants that's worth subsidizing them with technology.

Griefbringer
05-11-2012, 14:30
Once the mineral resources are gone, the factories will still remain, and IMO, this is how a Hive World like Necromunda started - massive mineral resources that originally attracted colonisation, that have been tapped out over millenia, but the factories remain as a critical mass that's too important to just ignore and close off, and too bulky to move closer to the new resource locations.

As regards factories, don't forget that some of those feature "lost technology" ie. the Imperium no longer has a clue how to build new factories of given type, though they are able to keep the existing ones working (at least for the time being).

If they had to disassemble such a factory and move it to another planet, they might no longer be able to put it together in a working form, thus permanently losing a rare manufacturing asset. Much safer to just keep the factory where it is and ship raw materials from other places.

Sai-Lauren
05-11-2012, 14:40
I was thinking more that heavy resources will attract mines and factories, the people to work in them, and the support industries around them, until you get a critical mass where, even if the resources have been exhausted and the refineries have been potentially been dismantled and taken off world to somewhere else, there's too much invested in the factories and population to move them off world as well.

A world with low or mostly inaccessible mineral resources can still potentially grow crops, or may have sufficient ground space to have massive solar or geothermal power plants to charge battery packs or power factories (solar especially if it's tidally locked like Mordia, and you've got nearly an entire hemisphere that's too hot to colonise), or their position in the sector makes them a trade crossroads, so they pretty much just pay their tithe in money raised from docking fees and warehousing. Or they become a munitorium or administratum storage world or something else that means in the Imperium maintains their position on the system.

Edit:
Griefbringer, that's a good point as well. And related, the AM might know how to put it back together, but either fear that taking it apart will offend the Machine God, or that exporting the machinery will diminish the power of their particular part of the organisation, and object with technobabble to make sure it won't happen.