Abandoned Mine

Those aren't your footsteps.

Maybe there's nothing left to mine. Maybe it was closed because of safety issues. Maybe the company that owned it went bankrupt. Maybe something terrible happened there. Maybe the miners Dug Too Deep. Whatever the reason, this mine is now abandoned, and has probably been that way for some time. That does not, however, mean that it is empty. An abandoned mine is the perfect place for young characters to get lost or trapped, for heroes to find a valuable clue or some sort of treasure, or for villains, outlaws, and horror movie monsters to lurk.

It may or may not be specified what was mined there in the first place, or mine cart rides.

Watch out for falling rocks and other obstacles.

Note: In real life, mines are generally devoid of human activity any time when the miners are not working. However, this trope implies that the mine in question isn't just "not currently in use", but "people have stopped using this".

A Sub-Trope of Abandoned Area.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: In "Heavy Metal Queen", Spike, Faye, and a space trucker chase down a bounty into an abandoned mining complex on an asteroid.

    Comic 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) the Mane 6 travel through one to begin their journey to the Changeling Kingdom.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: The third (and last) Carl Barks story featuring Flintheart Glomgold was about an abandoned gold mine being put for auction in Africa. Both Scrooge and Flintheart believed the mine to still have gold and Glomgold tried to prevent Scrooge from attending the auction. The story had an Open Ending as we never get to know who won the auction or if the mine had enough gold to be worth the trouble.

     Film  
  • One of these shows up (possibly two) in the forgettable Broken Arrow.
  • An inactive mine is a plot point in Dante's Peak. Wando's son uses it as a hideout/clubhouse, and when the volcano erupts, it's where Harry and the Wando family hole up until help arrives.
  • In the Brendan Fraser film Journey to the Center of the Earth, shortly after taking refuge in a cave on the side of an Icelandic volcano, they discover a lava tube that leads to an abandoned mine shaft. Cheesy Minecart Madness ensues.
  • In The Great Outdoors, John Candy's character ends up trapped for a period in an abandoned mine with some old, wet dynamite.
  • The Evil That Men Do. Charles Bronson plays a hitman sent to kill a Torture Technician whom he lures out by kidnapping his sister, ostensibly for ransom. He sets up the ransom exchange in an abandoned opal mine, only to find when he gets there that it's full of poor peasants chipping away at the workings in the hope of finding leftover opals. The peasants end up doing his job for him, because they're all former victims of the torturer.
  • The eponymous creatures in The Boogens reside in an abandoned gold mine, who are set loose when the place is reopened.
  • The 2013 horror film Abandoned Mine takes place, unsurprisingly, inside one of these.

     Literature  

    Live-Action TV 
  • Skippy The Bush Kangaroo Catch Phrase: "What's that Skippy? The kids are trapped down the old mine-shaft, again?"
  • In an episode of Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls explores one.
  • In an episode of Merlin, Morgana uses one as a base of operations, taking a kidnapped Gaius there for a little torture session.

     Music  
  • Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" mentions the couple going into an old mine with a radio among the settings for the couple's trysts.
  • The Coasters' "Along Came Jones". Down in the old abandoned mine, Sweet Sue was a-havin' fits - the villain said "Gimme the deed to your ranch or I'll blow you all to bits!"

     Tabletop RPG  
  • The Encounter Critical adventure Asteroid 1618 has an abandoned mine as an playable area. Encounters include Hellbats, a Cave Ooze, a Slime Dragon, Hooded Horrors and Time Ghosts.

     Video Games  
  • Minecraft has the underground Strongholds and the Abandoned Mine Shafts, which frequently go off in labyrinthine directions with broken mine tracks, exposed ores, and resources, chests, webs, and the nests of huge venomous spiders.
    • The spiders in mineshafts are quite unique as they're smaller than normal spiders but are more agile and on normal, hard and hardcore mode, they inflict poison.
    • Silverfish on the other hand, continuously spawn reinforcements when you attack them directly. They also hide themselves inside blocks and can eat through blocks.
    • The player also creates mines which may subsequently be abandoned.
  • There is some sort of incarnation of the Abandoned Mine in every Half-Life game to date.
    • In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, both the rebel outpost and the antlion nest are in an abandoned mine.
    • The short route from Ravenholm back to the surface in Half-Life 2 also counts.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 has Knuckles' search for shards of the previously shattered Master Emerald bringing him to Aquatic Mine, an abandoned coal mine located within the vicinity of Pumpkin Hill that can be accessed via the sewers of Central City. This is aptly summed up by the opening lyrics of the stage's theme, "Dive into the Mellow": "Let's take a dive, in Aquatic Mine. Once was a coal pit, but now it's a water ride."
  • There is at least one in Neverwinter Nights.
  • Many, many side-missions in Mass Effect 1 will take place in these- from recovering missing Alliance intelligence to killing husks of a mining team that Dug Too Deep. Mass Effect 2 has just one mission in a abandoned mine that is also fighting the remnants of miners who Dug Too Deep.
  • Tales of Symphonia had the Toize Valley Mine in Tethe'alla.
  • The Portal games take place at Aperture Science, a laboratory built into an abandoned salt mine. Of course, since said mines are now booming research facilities (though those were abandoned too), it's hard to say if this trope applies.
  • Scurge: Hive: Area 5, the Mines. No longer actively used, these minds are now overrun with native monsters.
  • Nostalgia: The Eterna Mines.
  • Penumbra, a series of horror games, all take place in an abandoned mining facility.
  • Fallout 3's DLC Pack Point Lookout has the Herzog Mine. The mine was partially collapsed to end a strike. Many of the striking workers died. The owner, overcome with remorse, hung himself in the lowest chamber.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has its fair share of long-abandoned mines, now inhabited by monsters or raiders.
    • Fallout 2 has the Wanamingo Mine in Redding, which was abandoned after a pack of monsters moved in. The player can buy the mine and clear it out to resell it at a profit.
  • The third level in Thief: The Dark Project was an abandoned (and haunted) mine, which had a passage to Cragscleft prison, your ultimate objective.
  • Alan Wake: Bright Falls Coal Mine.
  • Doom II has a level called "The Abandoned Mines". Granted, it doesn't look much like actual mines (then again, no level in the classic Doom games looks like anything) and it's supposed to be located in Hell, but it does have areas that look like giant underground excavated caverns.
  • Donkey Kong Country has the mine levels. Two levels involve using a mine cart to get from the beginning to the end.
  • Elsword has Richie Mine, a dungeon where the Nasods have started setting up base and excavating materials to build more of their kind.
  • The Perseus Mandate expansion pack from the original FEAR features one of these in interval 6.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features the locale known as the Lanayru Mining Facility, which had been abandoned for several hundred years. The minerals that had been extracted there, Timeshift Stones, remain scattered throughout the mines and desert. When struck, these stones cause a temporal effect that sends a part of the area back in time to when it was not so abandoned.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has quite a few examples:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: There are a number of them throughout Vvardenfell. Many kwama egg mines had to be abandoned when the resident kwama colony became blighted and turned hostile. There are also some ebony and glass mines that had to be abandoned for various reasons. One in particular, the Vassir-Didanat ebony mine, was not only abandoned but it's location was lost. You can find it and report its location to one of three Hlaalu councilors, each of whom will give you a different reward. Unlike Oblivion, and like Skyrim, Vvardenfell also features unabandoned mines still being operated.
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: for the civilized heart of The Empire, Cyrodil sure has a lot of abandoned mines lying around for no good reason and, for the most part, they're infested with bandits or creatures. They sometimes show no evidence, beyond wooden supports or the odd pickaxe, of actually being a mine. Bonus points for one literally called the Abandoned Mine.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim does have a few, but it makes it more reasonable by also having working and populated mines.
  • Betrayal at Krondor features the The Mac Mordain Cadal, although the dwarves are trying to change that mine's status.
  • Ragnarok Online, naturally, has several, but the first one most players see (north-northwest of Prontera) contains a few dwarves who Dug Too Deep.
  • The mines of planet Nemo in The Adventures Of Massmouth, closed because "the workers disagreed with the inhabitats."
  • The 3rd level in Slender: The Arrival has Lauren escape an abandoned mine where she needs to activate 6 generators to turn on an elevator, trouble is Slender Man isn't the only one who's stalking her.
  • Miror B's hideout in Pokémon Colosseum is in one. And it's a maze and confusing to navigate. Pokémon X and Y also has one, with the added creepy factor of the mine being extremely profitable but abandoned because the miners discovered something horrific living deep underground.
  • An optional area hidden in Mt. Metox in Star Ocean 1 is an abandoned mine filled with super-tough enemies and high value loot.
  • One of the possible randomly generated structures in Starbound. They're filled with monsters that are not native to the planet.
  • Last Scenario:
    • The Abandoned Copper Mine is the first dungeon that Hilbert visits at the beginning of the game.
    • The Possessed Mine Shaft near Kholen was abandoned after several miners wind up dead in mysterious circumstances. The party ends up running into the responsible of the massacre while exploring the mine.
  • Downplayed in Baldur's Gate: It's mentioned that the lower levels of Nashkel's iron mine are all but abandoned, due to creatures killing the miners. The main reason you're there is to determine what's going on in said lower levels.
  • The Rhondda Mine from Shadow Heats Covennant was abandoned after a huge explosion in the deepest parts of the mine caused the death of more than one hundred miners. Now the only ones there are ghosts and other nasties that have made the place their turf.

     Web Games  
  • BIONICLE: in the Mata Nui Online Game 2, the Great Mine was abandoned due to flooding by Gahlok in the previous arc. Hahli, a Ga-Matoran and experienced swimmer, has to dive through the mine to retrieve tools and materials for the Onu-Matoran miners.

     Western Animation  
  • In Transformers Animated, the Decepticons set up a hidden base in one. One also features prominently in the episode "Nature Calls".
  • The Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!! episode "Mine Your Own Business". While trying to determine the identity of the scary Miner 49er, the gang explores a spooky old mine.
  • The Fievel's American Tails episode "The Lost Mother Lode" features one as a setting.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Much of "Into the Mouth of Darkness" takes place in an abandoned silver mine.
  • Woody Woodpecker once found one and decided to see if there was any gold left. An outlaw named Joe claimed the mine as his by writing his name on the Abandoned Mine sign. Woody got the gold but it was fool's gold and the assays officer threatened to shoot the next one to bring it. At least Woody had a good laugh by luring Joe into being the next one.
  • Wacky Races: The Arkansas Chugabug's driver entered a subway and mistook the tunnel for an abandoned mine.
  • Shows up in My Bloody Valentine as the site for a party.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • In the episode, "Duncan and the Old Mine", Duncan wanders into an abandoned mine and gets sealed in by an avalanche. For a while, he ends up lost, until he finds a bunch of coal trucks, which he uses as a Battering Ram to get out the other end.
    • In the special, "The Great Discovery", Thomas gets lost in Morgan's Mine chasing down a Troublesome Truck. The whole Island of Sodor sends a search party to look for him. Eventually, Thomas finds his way out and Stanley helps pull him back onto the rails.
    • In the special, "King of the Railway", Stephen smashes into a boarded-up mine after getting chased by a runaway train of Troublesome Trucks. While there, he finds the lost crown of King Godred, which Sir Robert Norramby has been searching for for years. Like the aforementioned "The Great Discovery" example, the Island of Sodor sends a search party, this time to look for Stephen. Thomas eventually finds him, and with the help of Jack the Front Loader, pulls him out of the mine.
    • In the episode, "Missing Gator", the Troublesome Trucks run away from Percy because they aren't coupled up to him. They smash through the same boarded-up mine that Stephen was previously in, and in an Out of Character moment, they ask Percy to help them out of the mine, as they don't like being left there alone.

     Real Life  
  • Abandoned mines are all over the place in real life, often in remote or unexpected areas, but rarely completely abandoned because that's sorta frowned on by environmental agencies these days. Despite this, people in charge of remediating the damage done by the mining process will usually not be there on any particular given day. Needless to say, they are dangerous places. Not that this stops anyone from exploring them just to show how brave they are, of course..
    • There are a couple of reasonably safe abandoned mines in the hills above Farmington, Utah, that are popular hiking destinations. Patsy's mine, the most popular, even has the beginnings of flowstone and stalactites!
  • Anyone doing any hiking in the North of England is well-advised to pay attention to the map when it says "sunken mine works" - some areas are lousy with them - the mines failed decades ago, but they are still dangerous to the unwise or unlucky.
  • There are abandoned mines dotted around Wales. Some are fenced off and come with signs warning that the fence blocks the way to an old mine.
  • Some mines are only temporarily "abandoned" and subsequently get repurposed for other uses.
    • Beneath the Canadian city of Sudbury, ON is a disused nickel-mine which is now the site of SNOLAB (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory LABoratory)
    • Underneath downtown Grand Rapids, MI are three gypsum mines which even when no longer mined for gypsum were kept well-maintained for use as, among other things, fallout shelters (during the Cold War) archival storage (constant temperature year-round) or even sites for secure server farms.
  • The tiny island of Hashima (nicknamed Gunkanjima or "Battleship Island" due to its resemblance of the Japanese battleship Tosa from the distance) is basically a minehead of the enormous undersea coal works that belonged to Mitsubishi. While the Company Town that occupies the whole top of the island is a very popular attraction among the urban explorers, the mine itself probably hasn't been visited since it closed in the 1974 due to falling coal prices.