I checked platinum sources, and sure enough, washing crushed nickel ore with mercury is the only meaningful source of platinum as a by product, and far more productive than platinum sludge. I had around 1500 crushed nickel in storage from ore rigs, so I dumped a bunch of it into my ore processing system to get some more platinum.
I’ve got 11 Osmium and 31 Iridium at this point. 20 of the iridium is loot from treasure chests.
I’m setting up the ore rig for bauxite. Man, compared to just going out and mining, the prep time is huge. Much of the day, really.
Part of the issue was this was my first surface mine, the previous three were all underground. Of course that meant I had to build a shelter from the rain, and I ended up building a substantial little castle rather than just leave a big ugly stone cube on the site. It’s still rectangular in shape, but it has proper walls with anti-spider defenses and a few decorative touches like crenellations. Kind of silly for something that’s essentially throw away, something I’ll abandon once the site is exhausted.
The actual surface site turned out to be in the plains, not the nearby desert as I thought, so I threw in a wooden water collector tank and a minimum-size (3x3x4) Railcraft tank to store water. My plan is to have lubricant and drilling fluid cars in the train, and send the train back early if drilling fluid runs out locally. Which should only happen if there’s not enough water on site.
Even though it’s substantial work, it feels like the time investment is worth it, since drilling one site is like mining 3 sites by hand, and I don’t have to hand-carry anything back and forth or go through the tedium of branch mining.
I also think the process of setting up drills will go faster as I get more practiced. Throwing up the drill itself goes very quickly. It’s setting up the support stuff that still takes a little time, like the on-site drilling fluid production and the redstone control logic.
Plus there’s laying down track, though each new segment of track I lay is something I’ll probably be able to use to reach later sites.