Latest Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Snapshot Shows Off Glowing Berries (1)
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Best Y Levels for Every Ore in Minecraft 1.20

I remember the Y11 and Y12 civil war. I'm getting old.

Since the Caves and Cliffs update, Minecraft has very different Y Levels for the different ores in the game. No longer is simply “digging deeper” the most viable method.

Recommended Videos

Best Y Levels for all Minecraft ores

Mining in Minecraft used to be simple. Digging down was enough to find more of the rarer materials you needed. Since Caves and Cliffs, however, each ore has their own ranges that they can be found in, and the different Y Levels will have different quantities.

Mojang shared this incredibly helpful graph that goes over all the ores and their distributions, as well as what it used to be like.

Minecraft Ore Distribution
Image: Mojang

Below, I’ve listed all the ores in Minecraft and the best level of which to find them for easier reference. I’ve also added their Y Level Range, which shows the maximum and minimum Y Level in which they can be found.

OreBest Y LevelY Level range
Coal96256 to 0
Copper48112 to -16
Iron16 and 232256 to -64
Gold-1632 to -64
Redstone-5916 to -64
Lapis064 to -64
Diamond-5916 to -64
Emeralds (In Mountainous Biomes)235256 to -16
Gold (Badlands)32-256256 to 32
Copper (Dripstone Caves)48112 to -16

You’ll notice that some biomes influence the spawn behavior of certain ores. Although the behavior of Copper seems to be the same, it spawns significantly more frequently. Gold also spawns at a higher rate in the Badlands.

Interestingly, Emeralds will exclusively spawn in Mountainous Biomes, although they won’t exactly be common despite the already rare spawning requirements.

In the graph, you may notice something called “Reduced Air Exposure.” This is something that the game factors in when spawning ore blocks. Air Exposure is when a block has at least one of its sides touching nothing, or air. When spawning in ore blocks, if the location of the block is exposed to the air, there is a chance that the ore won’t spawn at all.

Therefore, Reduced Air Exposure means that there’s less chances for the ores to be aborted during generation. This, in turn, means a greater chance of higher quantities of that ore inside the stone walls and floors of the caves.

With all of this information, we can create a pretty good mining strategy for Minecraft.

The best mining method for Minecraft

With these changes, you’ll need to mine in the most efficient way possible in Minecraft.

It’s quite simple really. All you must do is go to the right Y Level for the ore or ores that you’re after, and start strip mining.

This means you’ll be mining in a straight line. For more exposure, I’d suggest that every three blocks, dig in a straight line to your left and right. Don’t worry about digging a 2-tall block hole, but quickly dig out a 1×1 hole at eye level.

Best Mining Minecraft
Screenshot: PC Invasion

As you’re doing this, you are exposing significantly more blocks than normal strip mining. With more blocks exposed, the greater the chance of finding adjacent ore.

Being underground also means there’ll be no Air Exposure, so you’ll have maximum chances of finding the ores that you want.

Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be able to get all the ores you want in no time in Minecraft. If you’re playing on Bedrock, then maybe you could benefit from some Add-Ons to make the grind more tolerable.

PC Invasion is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Aidan Lambourne
Aidan Lambourne
Aidan Lambourne is a contributing writer for PC Invasion, with almost a couple years of experience in the industry. He has written about Roblox extensively, although has keenly covered new releases and indie games. A passionate writer and gamer, he still can't really believe he gets to indulge in both for a career.