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Ore is a common term for a variety of raw minerals excavated by forward mining bases before the appearance of Tiberium. Usually golden in colour, it was mined by ore trucks and delivered to the furnaces of ore refineries for smelting and processing into usable forms. The term ore as used for the resource refers to those raw materials designated in the command interface as valuable minerals in the Second World War, which in the interface were recognized as a gold substance for the purpose of drawing the attention of field commanders to its immense strategic importance.
The process of excavating was long and arduous, and with the arrival of Tiberium, ore was more or less rendered obsolete as a resource, as the new element carried out the mining process all by itself.
Prospecting and mining[edit | edit source]
Ore has, throughout history, been extracted from rocks by smelting. However, the need for larger scale ore production with the vast application of metals and minerals in the modern industrialized world caused much more sophisticated technology to be developed. In WWII, there were visible entrances to mining shafts in the centre of important ore mining sites. Ore was simply dumped outside of the mining entrance and therefore was spawned from these sites, building up in the surrounding areas for industrial collection. The highly durable and underground systems of the mining shafts were able to protect personnel and machinery no matter how intense combat became on the battlefield, allowing them to continue the mining process. Underground mining systems took the minerals from deep within the Earth's crust, drilling and digging into inexhaustible subterranean deposits, and transporting the extracted rock out onto the surface. Since technology was relatively slow-working, ore could easily be over-harvested by the impatient military trucks on the surface, causing depletion and economy consequently being brought to a standstill until the surface ore fields reformed. In contrast, Tiberium quickly spreads by means of its natural crystalline processes, preventing the problems of a runaway economy.
In WWIII technological advancement had progressed to the point that underground mining personnel were no longer required to maintain the underground extraction process, as a new self-sustaining standard ore mining drill had been deployed at all major underground ore deposits by Allied and Soviet engineers. Its upper structure protruded onto the surface more than previous generation ore extraction systems, where periodic automated drilling could be observed, spawning raw unprocessed ore onto the surrounding terrain each time.
In the alternate World War III, technological evolution proceeded differently and a more surface-based mining structure was designed. At first engineers were skeptical of its application, since the previous mining systems were so deeply entrenched that they could conceivably survive a superweapon attack completely unscathed. However, it emerged that the new structure possessed advanced self-repair systems whereby it could use electromagnetics to draw in the atoms of subterranean metals beneath it, reconstructing itself instantly at the first hint of damage. Entrenched in the ore deposit, the new automated mining systems would conceivably be completely impervious to harm- unless officially decommissioned by the civilian authorities which legally own them. These globally distributed civilian mining platforms became the primary source of funding for any base. Since the ore mine is compact, the construction of a base directly on-site could almost entirely inhibit the effectiveness of siege warfare (cutting economic supply) on that base which had been commonplace in WWII and WWIII. Regardless of this, forces controlling the most ore mines in the battlefield, whether they built refineries directly adjacent to them or not, would have the economic edge over those who ignored this need for maximum ore production. The new ore mines were also found on oil rig-like platforms throughout the oceans and lakes of the world, connected to large mineral deposits within the oceanic crust, representing decisive naval assets in the marine warfare of World War III. Ore mines are sometimes considered impractical, because miners cannot queue up at a single site and only one may be entrusted to each site due to the first-come first-serve policy of the global mining industries. In addition, the new ore mines only have finite ore supplies, though it is an extremely valuable quantity. Critics cite that the compact 'ore mine' presents a higher risk of total economic depletion than any other forms of extraction technology.
Strategic analysts have considered the destruction of the ore extraction systems themselves as a major tactic, to prevent the enemy mining operations. However, consensus is that the durability of the mining systems is so strong that this would be a considerable waste of resources and end in failure. Also, the destruction of ore trucks, the military units collecting the surface ore itself, is a much more manageable and commonly exercised tactic. Scorched earth policy has also been considered to hamper the enemy seizing one's resources, but the mining systems are too well-entrenched to be suddenly decommissioned simply due to the possible approach of an enemy. Also, the mining systems are controlled only by local civilian authorities and are generally not loyal to any world power, be it Washington or Moscow.
Transportation and storage[edit | edit source]
Main article: harvester
The transportation of ore is generally the major wartime issue regarding this resource. After the mining process, which is a purely civilian duty (non-combatants who are only interested in the prospecting and extraction of elements) assigned surface units will collect the ore. In WWII and WWIII this meant sending ore trucks onto fields of spawned ore, where it was collected and brought to refineries. In World War III, however, the ore collector will dock in an ore node and be filled to full capacity while docked. It will then transport the load to its refinery and dock here, unloading the ore content for final processing.
Transporting ore with military trucks has led to the development of specialized heavily armoured units for this purpose, since ore trucks are generally a target for enemy forces. Soviet mining vehicles in World War III possessed an ability to deploy heavy armour to withstand enemy shellfire, allowing them to take large amounts enemy fire and still escape intact.
Ore was originally stored in silos in WWII, but by WWIII it was converted directly into cash, being marketed away as soon as it was processed. This way, ore could be collected without the need for large storage space, since field commanders would purchase units and structures using the credits gained in the global marketing of their resources rather than exploiting the material directly like Tiberium.
Strategic importance[edit | edit source]
Ore was the basis of the Allied and Soviet wartime economies. Processing yielded resources that could be used or sold to produce or fund the production of munitions. Areas rich in ore were sought after by both sides.
|The following is based on the Soviet campaign for Red Alert and might contradict canon.|
Chalcis Island was captured by the Soviets so its ores could be directed toward special projects.