|Manual & Auto Mining|
To get to stone more quickly, you can try to find a steep hill. Sometimes stone is already exposed on the side.
Gold ore appears in approximately 16% of stone blocks. This means you will usually have to remove a lot of other blocks in order to get gold more efficiently. It is usually faster to dig at a level just above the highest stone block so you can remove dirt instead of stone, harvesting gold ore at that top level only. It takes 1 second to mine dirt or sand, 8 seconds to mine stone, and 15 seconds to mine gold ore.
An even faster way to harvest gold is to find a cut at a town/wilderness boundary, like this:
These kinds of cuts happen because mayors usually like all of their town plots at the same elevation. Cuts and fills are done to ensure this. When a deep cut happens, gold ore may be exposed, and this can be easily harvested without having to remove other kinds of blocks. Also, when the wilderness is reset each morning, all harvested gold ore will re-appear, so it can be harvested again.
Note that as of approximately October 2016, an easier way to get gold is to log in to the game every hour and press the "free gold" button. You will get 20 gold each time. However, it is still fun to collect extra gold manually, and also to collect stone (without having to buy it).
COMING SOON: Mining efficiency discussion
I came up with a way to automatically mine vertically without my having to hold my finger on my iPad. This is actually very difficult because the iPad has a capacitive touch screen which requires some part of the human body to touch it in order to work. I built a box with a fake finger and a conductive wire that attaches at the other end to some part of my body.
Watch YouTube video for instructions and Builder Buddies mining demonstration:
(ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS / CAPTIONS COMING SOON)
Attach the "plug" end to your skin somewhere, such as taping it to your arm or inserting it in your waistband. You can place the box on the iPad to have it start digging, and then while the box continues to "press" the screen on its own, you can get other work done at your desk (write a letter, check Emails, etc.). You can also periodically check the chat window and keep up on the latest town gossip that happened while you were mining.
Besides my own mining activities, I found two other deep pits that people created (prior to publishing my video). Hopefully they also used some sort of automated method, as this represents many game hours of digging!