Resources are the crafting ingredients needed to create stationary modules, vehicles, and personal equipment as well as to provide oxygen and power. They occur in varying rarity on the surface and in caves, depending on the planet. They can be either be harvested with the omnitool, earned through trade, or acquired randomly as a reward from a research item. Some items, such as Copper and Aluminum, do not occur in natural deposits and have to be refined from other materials.
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Resource deposits that occur on the surface or in caves can be harvested either with the omnitool or with the Drill Head. This will cause single units of that resource to cling to the tool until a full stack is formed, which is then placed into the players inventory, or dropped to the ground in case the inventory is already full. The ores Laterite and Malachite need to be smelted into Aluminum and Copper before they can be further used.
Some basic resources, namely Resin, Compound, Oxygen and Power, occur in self-regenerating natural deposits. While those deposits cannot be completely removed, they can be repeatedly harvested for materials. This can be done by equipping the omnitool, hovering over one of the arrows and keeping the left mouse button pressed. Once the deposit is depleted, the item flow will stop. Deposits regenerate every few minutes, so make sure to mark their locations with a Beacon.
Almost all resources can be found at random in researchable items. Whenever you research an item that you have researched before, you enter a resource lottery that can yield you any of the resources above. This is particularly useful early in the game in order to acquire Lithium for batteries or oxygen tanks.
As of now, the Trade Platform is the best way to acquire all materials you need to expand your base as well as craft vehicles and new equipment. Each item has a trade value that roughly corresponds to the rarity in which it occurs. Visit the article on the Trade Platform for more details and strategies about trading.