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You can mine ore and coal if it's available in your city. These can be sold for profit, or turned into other commodities. This article covers unlocking the Metals HQ building and upgrading it.

The following sections can be found in this article:

  • Unlocking the Metals HQ
  • Upgrading the Metals HQ
  • Supply Chain Problems
  • Mining & Pollution
  • There is a complete listing of the natural resources of each of the base game cities in the following article:

  • Natural Resources Listed by City
  • Unlocking the Metals HQ

    You will need to mine 96 tons of ore and / or coal to unlock the Metals HQ. One mine with a single mine shaft will produce 24 tons per day, so a fully expanded mine should be able to manage this requirement within a few days.

    Did you know that the Metals HQ can provide freight shipping for nearby industrial zones?

    Upgrading the Metals HQ

    The following is a basic guide to meeting the requirements to upgrade the Metals Headquarters building

    Metals HQ Upgrade #1: $160,000

    The first upgrade requires you to sell coal and / or ore to make a profit of $160,000. Depending on the current global market value this will typically require around 250 tons of either coal or ore. To generate this quantity you are likely to need 3-4 fully expanded mines plus sufficient storage to store and export the materials.

    Metals HQ Upgrade #2: $700,000

    There are three modules that can be added to the Metals HQ once it has been upgraded, and choosing which one to add first does (in my opinion) present one of the more difficult decisions in SimCity's specialisation.

  • Commerce Division: regional access granted for the Trade Port and coal and ore storage lots
  • The Commerce Division can be substituted for the Metals Division of the Trade HQ - typically you will be able to upgrade both the Metals HQ and the Trade HQ within a similar time frame, making it unnecessary to 'waste' your first upgrade on it.

  • Engineering Division: Local access granted for the Advanced Coal Mine
  • The Advanced Coal mine might be the better choice if you only have coal. It can generate much larger quantities of coal, although the mine is rather expensive. The downside of choosing the Engineering Division first is that relying solely on coal to meet the second upgrade could mean you run out of coal before you are unable to upgrade your HQ a second time.

  • Smelting Division: Local access granted for the Smelting Factory
  • The Smelting Factory allows the production of metal and alloy. This is probably the better option in general for the first upgrade, but particularly if you have ore in your city. Metal can be produced with just ore, with both you can produce alloy, although since it makes a good quantity of profit, it is typically worth the cost of importing coal if you don't have any, in fact, even if you import both, it is likely you'll turn a fairly good profit.

    Whichever you choose, you will need to expand your indusry until you generate sufficient profit.

    Metals HQ Upgrade #1: $2,000,000

    I found it is quite easy to use up all resources present in the city before reaching the final upgrade of the Metals HQ. When producing materials from the smelting factory you need ore in higher amounts than coal, and it is often harder to mine ore so effectively because most city maps have multiple small ore deposits. It can often require some redesigning of city layout to fit these in as the main areas run out. The upside of running out of raw materials is that it does free up space in your city to place factories and any required additonal storage lots.

    It is worth remembering that you can subsidise your own production of metals with the output from recycling plants. Using the metal and / or alloy production lines and selling them will give you additional appropriate profit, however their production is patchy and a little slow (each recycling plant is limited to 20 tons of recycling processing per day).

    The following table gives you an idea of what sort of quantity of metal production might be required to meet the final upgrade requirement. For the number of mines and factories, I have assumed they have the maximum number of modules and are working at optimal effeciency.

    Product Quantity required to produce $2,000,000 profit /day Number of Mines / Factories
    Coal 3334 tons (at $6,000 /10 tons) 35 coal mines, 5 advanced coal mines
    Ore 3774 tons (at $5,300 /10 tons) 39 ore mines
    Metal 635 tons (at $31,500 /10 tons) 7 ore mines, 7 smelting factories
    Alloy 477 tons (at $42,000 /10 tons) 5 smelting factories

    If you don't have local coal and / or ore, then you will need to produce higher quantities of metal / alloy in order to offset the costs of importing the raw materials, for instance if you have no coal and ore, a price for alloy of $42,000 per 10 tons would drop down to $25,400 if we use the prices I've given above for coal and ore. Obviously varying prices will have an impact, if you have high prices for coal and ore and poor prices for alloy, you may find yourself needing a few more factories. The reverse is also true!

    To get $2,000,000 in daily profit does require a substantial commitment of land and workers to your metals industry. If you're getting nowhere near this quantity of daily profit, then it's either because you have nowhere near the required quantity of production, or there are problems with your supply chains.

    Store & Flood

    A common suggestion for getting to the demanding level 3 upgrades, is to set your storage depots to 'use locally' until they are full of the products you want to sell. Once the clock hits midnight, set them to export.

    This tactic certainly can make all the difference if your production falls short of the amount required, however it does require available delivery trucks and clear roads (or rail / shipping connections on your trade ports). If your trucks spend half the night trying to get back into the city then you won't benefit from the extra goods. It also requires your city not to go bankrupt whilst you wait for goods to accumilate. This can be challenging if your city budget runs consistently in the red.

    For more information:

  • The Global Market
  • Supply Chain Problems

    The Metals specialisation has a relatively straightforward supply chain. Unlike Electronics there aren't multiple dependancies for the end product, however it is still important to check to see how materials are going from source to factory in order to identify problems.

    Maintain a balance of mines, factories & storage

    If you are simply selling coal or ore, all you need to do is ensure that trucks from your mines can get to the exporting depot. Once you introduce processing, you will need to ensure a steady supply. If you are producing alloy you will need to supply both coal and ore in a 2:1 ratio. This supply chain can break down if you are producing too much coal or not enough ore. I recommend having 2 ore mines for one coal mine to supply a single smelting factory. Having storage in the same proportions is also advisable, if you produce twice as much ore as coal then having twice the storage makes sense.

    Avoid traffic problems

    Typically the key to a successful mining industry (or oil, or electronics) is to focus your city more on the industry, than on being a city. If your mining industry needs 30,000 workers, but your city population is 200,000, then most of those Sims are just going to be getting in the way of your delivery trucks. If your city is bursting at the seams and all your streets are gridlocked then consider down-sizing considerably to get vehicles off the road. Make sure that your delivery trucks do not have to zig-zag across the map (i.e. put storage depots in convenient locations so materials can be delivered efficiently). If you have a lot of traffic along major routes then remove zoned buildings along those routes, expand your mass transit system if appropriate, try and create dedicated routes to delivery trucks that run in parallel to the main routes, but which are connected in as few places as possible, and remove 4 way intersections on the city exit.

    You can also reduce reliance on trucks by making the most of the trade port. Adding rail terminals or cargo docks means as long as your final product makes it to the trade port, you are guarenteed to get those products out and profit in.

    Unfilled jobs = inefficiency

    The mining industry will require large quantities of low wealth workers and has no education requirements. The factories and mines will, however, want a small number of medium wealth and high wealth employees too. They will be less inclined to whine about worker shortages, and will work more efficiently if you can provide them with the workers they need.

    1 coal mine, 1 ore mine, 1 smelting factory and the Metals HQ will require 2280 low wealth workers, 340 medium wealth workers and 54 high wealth workers

    Aside from providing workers, having the correct quantity of residential housing for workers in accessible areas also helps ease trafffic congestion as mine workers can walk to work from nearby houses. Of course the mines and the pollution do make land values low, so you'll need to use small parks wisely in order to create those medium and high wealth areas.

    For more information:

  • Roads & Mass Transit: Overview
  • Roads & Mass Transit: Road Layout
  • Zoning: Wealth Levels
  • Government: Understanding Data Maps
  • Education
  • Parks: Happiness, Wealth & Land Value
  • Mining & Pollution

    If you've ever run a city with mining for any length of time then you've more than likely noticed the horrible brown sludge that builds up on the ground around your mines.

    Rather unhelpfully the ground and air pollution data maps don't generate values for mines, so it is unclear what the precise output is, however it generally doesn't take more than a few months before the pollution becomes visible in normal game view.

    Unfortunately there really isn't anything that can be done about pollution from mining. Parks will reduce nearby air pollution, but they will not do anything to reduce or clear up the aftermath of mining. The only remedy is lots of time, after your mines have gone, eventually the pollution will disappear, however this is likely to take several decades.

    One primary benefit of the Advanced coal mine, is that although it is also a heavy polluter, it will deplete coal in the ground much faster than the regular coal mine, therefore it shortens the lifespan of the mine, and therefore the same quantity of total pollution can begin the slow process of clearing sooner.

    The major result of pollution is increased germ levels and sickness. Mines have very high germ levels which will affect the Sims that work in them. Sickness amongst workers will reduce the efficiency of specialisation buildings. This can cause supply chain problems if your basic industries of coal and ore mining, are no longer producing sufficient quantities to feed higher level industries that depend on them for raw materials. Putting clinics in nearby areas (in the residential areas that are nearest to the mines and therefore most likely to be supplying the mines with workers), will help to get affected Sims back to work by giving them quicker access to treatment.

    For more information:

  • Healthcare: Pollution & Germs
  • Parks: Pollution
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