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How to find and mine iron in Valheim

Valheim iron
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

How do you get Valheim iron? If you're interested in visiting some of the more dangerous regions on the Valheim map, then you may as well start mining the valuable resources that can be found there. Unlike flint, iron is unrefined, so you'll need to smelt it into bars before crafting a strong iron pickaxe.

Once you have a healthy stack of iron, you can combine it with other items to create some of the best Valheim armor, tools, and building structures. It's a shame that you can't carry this ore through Valheim portals, but this is a good excuse to take the scenic route through Valheim's pretty Meadows. Here's what you need to know about Valheim iron, including how to find, mine, and smelt it.

Location

Valheim iron ore: Where to find and mine the precious resource

Before you can begin crafting shiny axes and longswords, you need to get your hands on some scrap iron. This material is essentially just iron ore, and it can be found in Muddy Scrap Piles. These deposits can be mined in the Sunken Crypts in the Swamp region. Visiting these biomes isn't exactly a walk in the park, and you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for hostile mobs. That said, once you have a pile of scrap iron safely nestled in your inventory, you'll see that was worth the treacherous journey.

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Unfortunately, I can't point you to the exact location of this zone, as Valheim's procedurally-generated world is different for everyone. However, the Swamp is a darker area that will be displayed as a named region on your map after you discover it (pictured below). The Sunken Crypts are stone structures with green torches outside. 

To access the Sunken Crypts, you first need to score a Swamp Key. These drop when you beat a Valheim boss called The Elder. You can find this scary tree-like creature in the Black Forest, but you'll need a set of specific items to beat it, including tough armor and flame arrows before taking on this brute.

After that gruelling fight, with the Swamp Key in hand, enter the Sunken Crypts and search for Muddy Scrap Piles. Use a pickaxe to mine these deposits for scrap iron. It's also worth checking the chests in the crypts as they often contain more materials, including more scrap iron. Once you've got a stash of this material in your inventory, you need to smelt it to create iron bars.

Smelting

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim scrap iron: Let's get smelting

Once you have your smelter (stone x20 and surtling core x5) up and running, you can begin using coal to smelt copper, tin, iron, and silver. Just remember that you'll need two units of coal per bar. One unit of scrap iron will create one unit of iron when smelted.

Consider how you'd like to spend your reserve of iron, rather than crafting something straight away. If you're keen to take on more bosses, iron weapons and armour are your best bet. However, if you'd rather improve your base, investing in a stonecutter (wood x10, iron x2, stone x4) is worthwhile. This station can be placed near a workbench, so you can begin building stone structures.

After you've smelted a stack of iron, here are all the items you can craft:

  • Iron atgeir
  • Iron axe
  • Iron pickaxe 
  • Battleaxe
  • Huntsman bow
  • Ironhead arrow
  • Iron sword
  • Iron longsword
  • Iron helmet
  • Iron scale mail 
  • Iron greaves
  • Iron tower shield
  • Iron nails
  • Iron mace
  • Banded shield

You'll also unlock these iron building recipes:

  • Stonecutter
  • Smith's anvil
  • Forge toolrack
  • Wood iron pole
  • Wood iron beam
  • Iron gate
  • Reinforced chest
  • Personal chest
  • Standing iron torch

Iron pickaxe

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim iron: How to craft an iron pickaxe

While the antler pickaxe is a handy beginner tool, you need to craft an iron pickaxe to begin mining resources like obsidian and silver. If you're planning a trip to the Mountains biome anytime soon, don't leave without one. You can mine every type of ore using your iron pickaxe, making it one of the most valuable tools in the game. Here's how to craft an iron pickaxe in Valheim:

  • Equipment: workbench, forge, smelter.
  • Core Wood x3: Chop down Pine trees in the Black Forest.
  • Iron x20

How to craft an iron gate in Valheim

As you defeat more Valheim bosses, you'll need to build stronger defenses to protect your home from enemies. Once you're able to smelt iron, you can build an iron gate to keep pesky greydwarfs, necks, and other creatures away from your prized chests. Here's what you need to craft an iron gate in Valheim:

  • Equipment: workbench, forge, smelter.
  • Iron x4

Fun fact: Iron Gate Studios also happens to be the name of the developer that makes Valheim. Chris spoke to the devs recently and they say that "the game's success is 'quite incredible and very humbling."

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.