GregTech 5 adds a very complicated ore processing system. Many different ways can be followed to process one ore, each will give different amount and different types of resulting materials.
Unfortunately, the complete chain of processing cannot be viewed as a whole in game. Showing it is the main purpose of this article.
At the start the player does not have resources to build all of the processing machines. So this part of article focuses on the ore processing chains which are available right from the start with minimal effort made.
- Furnace is used to smelt some of the early-game ores into 1 Ingot for 1 Ore.
- The Ore block can be broken with Hammer to yield 1 Crushed Ore from 1 Ore. Smelting 1 Crushed Ore will yield 10 Nuggets, which is 1.11 of Ingot. Some ores of chemical compound materials cannot be smelted directly into Ingot, but their Crushed Ore can be smelted into 3 Nuggets.
- The Crushed Ore can be crafted with Hammer to obtain 1 Impure Dust from 1 Crushed Ore. For those compound materials, from which metal is obtained by smelting Crushed Ore in the amount of 3 Nuggets, smelting Impure Dust gives a whole Ingot. All of the Impure Dusts of metals can be smelted into 1 Ingot, which is less than 10 Nuggets obtained from smelting Crushed Ore for some materials.
- Impure Dust can be thrown in Cauldron filled with Water to obtain Dust. It will use 1/3 of a bucket from Cauldron. Dust of chemically pure material can be smelted in 1 Ingot while Dust of chemically compound materials will give 3 or 6 Nuggets when smelted. However, these Dusts can be used to make dusts of alloys, for example, Bronze.
- Crushed Ore can be thrown in Cauldron filled with Water to obtain Purified Ore. It will use 1/3 of a bucket from Cauldron. The Purified Ore gives exactly the same amount of items Crushed Ore gives when smelted. It can be crafted with Hammer to obtain 1 Purified Dust from 1 Purified Ore. However, at this point of progression there is no benefit above the Impure Dust for smelting those. Like Impure Dusts, Purified Dusts can be cleaned the same way in Cauldron.
At this point in progression the player can only process a small amount of ores. Ores of chemically pure materials can be processed in 1.11 of Ingot for 1 Ore (f.e. Iron), ores of chemically compound materials can be processed in 1 Ingot for 1 Ore (f.e. Tetrahedrite).
Hint: throwing a stack of items in Cauldron will consume as much Water as 1 item thrown in there at a time.
Primitive Blast Furnace
In 5.09.32pre1 a new method of ore processing become available for new players. With the addition of Bricked Blast Furnace the player can now mix metal dusts with several dusts in order to smelt them more efficiently, increasing yield up to 2.5 ingots from 1 dust (~6 ingots from 1 ore). These recipes can be performed both in Bricked Blast Furnace and Bronze Plated Blast Furnace, and the only value which varies between the recipes is the processing time.
Steam Age Processing
At steam age the player is able to build these Ore Processing machines:
- Steam Furnace is more fuel-efficient than Furnace. High Pressure Furnace is even more efficient and faster.
- Steam Macerator allows to process ores more efficiently. High Pressure Macerator is faster.
- Steam Forge Hammer allows to process also non-metal ores to obtain gems or large pieces (f.e. Coal), also replaces Hammer in all processing chains. High Pressure Forge Hammer is faster.
With Steam Macerator the player is able to significantly improve the efficiency of ore processing chains. Crushing Ore in Steam Macerator gives 2 Crushed Ore from 1 Ore or even more. However, the amount of Crushed Ores obtained is always 2 times bigger than the amount of material obtained from processing this ore in Forge Hammer. Also Macerator is able to replace Hammer in all processing chains, but it is slower and less efficient than Steam Forge Hammer at this job.
At this point in progression the player can only process not all of the ores. Ores of chemically pure metals can be processed in 2.22 Ingots for 1 Ore (f.e. Iron), ores of chemically compound metals can be processed in 2 Ingots for 1 Ore (f.e. Tetrahedrite), ores of non-metallic materials can be processed in significantly more pieces of this material. However, at this point in progression the player cannot process Crushed Ores of such materials into Gems, only into Dust.
Basic Electrical Processing
When the player enters the LV electricity age, new machines become available. The player is now able to process most of the ores except the ones only required for late-game tasks. However, some advanced methods of ore processing are still unavailable to the player as they require more complicated machinery.
At this point in progression the player can use the following Ore Processing machines:
- Basic Electric Furnace, Basic Forge Hammer and Basic Macerator use electricity and are overall faster and more efficient than all the previous variants of these machines.
- Basic Ore Washing Plant can be used to purify Crushed Ore into Purified Ore. This gives byproducts in the amount of 1 Tiny Dust per 1 operation. It also yields Stone Dust.
- Basic Thermal Centrifuge can be used to obtain Centrifuged Ore from Crushed Ore or from Purified Ore. This will yield 1 Tiny Dust of byproduct, also 1 Stone Dust for Crushed Ore. Purified Ore doesn't give Stone Dust in this machine.
- Basic Centrifuge can be used to obtain Dust from Impure Dust and from Purified Dust. This also gives 1 Tiny Dust of byproduct, which is the same as for processing the Crushed Ore or Purified Ore of this material in Basic Thermal Centrifuge. It is overall slower than Basic Thermal Centrifuge but more efficient in terms of total energy consumption. This machine can also used on LV tier to process chemically compound Dusts into its chemical components. This is an efficient way to obtain materials such as Antimony at LV tier.
- Basic Sifting Machine is the most efficient machine for processing gem ores and such. It slowly sifts 1 Purified Ore, yielding gems of different sizes and dust. For materials such as Coal or Lapis will give instead up to 5 pieces of this material and dust. However, the output is chance-based. It is equivalent to 1.3 Dust from 1 Purified Ore, but because of the randomness of such machine the player can sometimes get significantly more. It is the only machine, which can be used to obtain Exquisite Gem which is used for Lenses at early-game. This machine yields Exquisite Gems, Flawless Gems, Gems, Flawed Gems and Chipped Gems from Purified Ores of gem materials. The former 2 types can be processed in Basic Forge Hammer in 4 and 2 normal Gems respectively while the latter 2 can be processed in Basic Macerator in 1/2th of Dust and 1/4th of Dust respectively. However, it is not recommended to process the former 2 types of gems at this stage as they are required in large amounts in the mid-game.
- Basic Electromagnetic Separator is used to extract Iron, Gold and Neodymium and Dust from Purified Dust of some materials, which is the most efficient way to process these materials.
- Basic Chemical Bath is able to obtain a full Dust of byproduct with 70% chance when processing Crushed Ore. This is significantly more that with processing the same Crushed Ore in Basic Ore Washing Plant, however this comes at the cost of Mercury or Sodium Persulfate used in this machine instead of Water.
- Basic Chemical Reactor can be used to achieve the maximum efficiency in Ore Processing possible: up to 11.68 Ingots from 1 Ore! This requires Water and 9 Leaves of the plant which is related to this material. In order to process the ore in this machine, the player has to spend hundreds of hours on Crop Breeding in order to breed this crop, get high stats and get a decent farm of these crops. So it is advised only to process the rarest ores this way, such as Iridium or Enriched Naquadah.
At this point of progression the player can process almost every ore at maximal efficiency. The resulting output can reach 11.68 Ingots from 1 Ore when using Basic Chemical Reactor. However, there are some mid-game ways of processing as well as some late-game materials which cannot be processed yet.
Advanced Electrical Processing
As the player advances to higher tiers of voltage, some more efficient ways of Ore Processing become available.
- At MV tier the player can now easily run an Electrical Blast Furnace Electrical Blast Furnace, which allows to use this multiblock structure for more efficient ore processing. With the usage of Calcite Dust the player can smelt Ore blocks of some ores which contain Iron to obtain 3 Iron Ingots from 1 Ore block. Also the player can smelt Crushed Ores, Purified Ores, Centrifuged Ores, Impure Dust and Purified Dust of some materials to get either Ingot or Hot Ingot, but this is terribly inefficient compared to smelting Dust of this material.
- At HV tier the player can now craft a Universal Macerator. This machine allows to obtain Dust of byproduct with 10% chance from every macerating operation of ore processing.
- At EV tier the player can craft a Universal Pulverizer, which also allows to obtain a Dust of the stone type the Ore block was found in with 50% chance when macerating the Ore into Crushed Ore.
- From MV to HV tiers new chemically compound Dusts become available for processing in Centrifuge and Electrolyzer to their chemical components. The last 2 dusts - Tungstate Dust and Scheelite Dust can only be processed in Advanced Electrolyzer III at EV tier.
- At EV tier the player can craft Advanced Miner II Advanced Miner II which mines Ore blocks, giving 2-5 Crushed Ores from 1 block. This raises the maximal amount of materials obtained from 1 ore even higher. Note that this machine only mines naturally generated ores, not placed by hand.
- Some end-game materials like Indium or Osmium can be obtained in a special way. More information can be found on respective pages.
In 5.09.32pre1 Electrical Blast Furnace Electrical Blast Furnace has gained new recipes, which also output fluids. Chemically compound dusts are smelted with some catalysts into oxides and fluids, and oxides are further smelted into metals, giving significantly more metallic yield than normal processing. F.e. 1 Galena Dust can now be processed into 1.5 Lead Dust, 0.67 Silver Dust, up to 1 Sulfur Dioxide Cell, up to 1 Carbon Dioxide Cell. This allows the player to obtain 2.17 metals, 0.67 non-metals, 1.33 gases from 1 chemically compound dust.
Byproducts and Amounts
The following table contains the results of ore processing of 5 most commonly used chains applied to all possible ores which can be obtained as blocks. If the processing chain cannot be fully applied to this ore, it is mentioned in the cell of this table. The table can be sorted by clicking on any header.
- If Mercury and Sodium Persulfate can both be applied in Chemical Bath, Sodium Persulfate result is above Mercury result
- For some materials different crops can be applied perform different recipes in Chemical Reactor
- This ore can only be centrifuged into Oil.