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Mineral Resource Potentials of Morrowind
by Apelle Dubilius, EEC Prospector
The mineral resources that lie within the province of Morrowind are vast, likely due to the geologic activity lent to the area by the volcanic Red Mountain. Indeed, the lands of the Dark Elves can be counted among the most productive in all the Empire in terms of mineral deposits. There do not appear to be especially dense concentrations of particular minerals in any given locale; rather, different minerals, all of impressive value, are spread around the Province. Some of the more rare and valuable minerals contained within Morrowind are raw ebony, raw glass, adamantium and gold. Morrowind is not limited to these alone, as there are also modest amounts of precious and semi-precious gemstones such as emerald, rubies, diamonds, opals and amethyst. Recent assessment parties assigned to the frozen island of Solstheim have also indicated that further opportunities may exist there.
Adamantium is one of the most precious and rarest minerals within the Province. The primary use of adamantium is in the production of weapons and armor, although it can also be wrought into fine art for the extremely wealthy. The metal is very durable, but it is also quite weighty. In the hands of all but the strongest soldiers adamantium weapons can become unwieldy, and the exhaustion that comes of swinging such weapons or wearing such armor makes it impractical for prolonged use. The price of the raw material also prevents its use in a scale that would be needed for war. The simple lack of adamantium, coupled with its weight and rarity do not usually make it a good investment for the fighting warrior. While adamantium can be found all around the province in small quantities, it is not known to be found on Vvardenfell. Due to its scarcity, it is not economically advantageous to establish any adamantium mines in Morrowind. Adventurers have been known to brave the depths of Old Mournhold in search of adamantium deposits known to lie beneath the sacred city.
Ebony is valuable and useful, and relatively abundant in the Province. As with adamantium, ebony has the drawback of being ridiculously heavy, although in the right hands, it serves exceptionally well as protective armor, as well as lethal weapons of high quality and durability. Many ebony weapons are in existence, most notably in the service of Ordinators, but the armor is a good deal rarer and harder to come by. Some fortunate (and rich) nobles or adventurers own pieces of ebony armor, but the person with a full suit is a rare individual. Raw Ebony itself is heavy, and even a small load will encumber the mightiest, making transportation of large amounts of the mineral completely impractical except by ship. Currently, the ebony industry in Morrowind is modest, and we should look to expand it due the obvious potential for profit. Although ebony is known to exist throughout the province, it is often found very deep underground, making the initial stages of mining uncommonly expensive. Currently, there are a few large operations extracting ebony, such as the mine near Caldera, several on the mainland, and a number of smaller mines within the Red Mountain region and the Ashlands. Currently, a good deal of prospecting is in progress in an attempt to expand the ebony trade in Morrowind. The most recent example of our efforts being the proposed mine on the isle of Solstheim, provided ore tests produce sufficient yield, and the frozen grounds do not impede progress drastically.
Gold is both malleable, and ductile, and well as highly valuable. Most of the Empire’s gold comes from the West, and little is found in Morrowind, with none at all on Vvardenfell. This makes gold a very highly prized item, and although it is encumbering, it makes for an excellent form of currency. Should there be a shortage of money, gold can always be traded. Other then funding, the practical uses of gold are few, due to its weight and malleability, it can be forged to form armor, but this armor is both expensive, and not terribly strong. Due to lack of gold in Morrowind, it wouldn’t be effective to begin mining operations, not when it can be mined on the Western side of Tamriel for much less.
Glass is one of the most unique materials in the Province. It is light, and yet still reasonably durable, making remarkably sturdy light amours and weapons. Glass is also relatively rare and quite costly, so few complete suits of armor are known of. Popular among the Armigers, one could also expect that several of the Great Houses might possess numerous pieces. Glass weapons are also of high quality, with razor edges and slight heft. Another valuable property of glass is the enchanting potential it contains. Glass weapons are prized among enchanters, who can make excellent fire, frost and poison blades with them, to name but just a few. The weakness of glass weapons lie in their durability, being nowhere near as reliable as adamantium, ebony, or a small host of lesser materials. To add to the already costly price of glass, very few smiths are trained and skilled in the creation of glass items. House Telvanni has interests in the expansion of glass mining, probably to add to their profits from enchanting and selling, along with raw glass's unique alchemical properties. At the moment, plans for expansion of the glass industry by the East Empire Company have not yet been discussed, and although House Telvanni is planning on taking the matter into their own hands, restrictions and pressure from the Empire are expected.
Iron is another mineral that is located in the Province of Morrowind that is not to be ignored. While it doesn’t exist copiously, and isn’t nearly as valuable as the others, it can be said that iron is a far more effective metal then some of the others. As a raw mineral, the value is small, but once extracted it can be forged into many tools and weapons. As a bonus, when iron is mixed with carbon, a much stronger alloy appears, steel. Steel is one of the most widely used metals in all of the Empire, due to its strength, and its malleability. At the moment, there is little need to expand the potential of the East Empire Company’s abilities to acquire iron in the Province of Morrowind. The yield simply wouldn’t be high enough, and it isn’t valuable enough to warrant the inherent expenses for working in such a volatile land.
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