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Ore Refineries are the main resource structures in Red Alert 3, and must be protected at all costs. Enemies(both human and the AI) tend to target these structures as their number 1 priority, as destroying it means less funds coming to their base.
From the appearance of the ore refinery, it suggests that the collected ore is smelted using a pool of unknown liquid and the refined ore is collected through the bottom of the pool.
These structures should be placed right in front of an Ore Mine for maximum collection efficiency. Upon placing an refinery, it automatically provides an Ore Collector for the commander.
All ore refineries can construct additional ore collectors as needed, this is most useful for Allied commanders, since their Prospectors can also be used for base expansion. Refineries can also be constructed on water.
If a Spy or a Shinobi infiltrates an ore refinery, they can steal up to 2000 credits from it. Therefore, they should be protected from enemy infiltrators by the use of Fortress Walls or other defenses.