List of lost mines

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Lost mines are a popular form of lost treasure legend. The mine involved is usually of a high-value commodity such as gold, silver or diamonds. Often there is a map (sometimes called a "waybill") purportedly showing the location of the mine. Common reasons given for the mines being lost include:

  • The mine was discovered and worked by a recluse who refuses to divulge the location, and dies without revealing the location.
  • The mine was worked by native peoples who refuse to divulge the location to others.
  • The mineral deposit was discovered in a remote location, and upon returning to the area the discoverer could not find it again.
  • The discoverer died of hunger, thirst, or exposure shortly after discovering the deposit, and their body is found with rich ore specimens in his possession.
  • The discoverers were killed by hostile natives. Sometimes the natives cover up the entrance to the mine.
  • In Spanish Empire colonies in the New World, many lost mines were supposedly worked under the direction of Jesuit priests before their sudden expulsion in 1767.

Some lost mine legends have a historical basis; some have none. But the lure of lost mine legends is attested by the many books on the subject, and the popularity of publications such as Lost Treasure magazine.

List of lost mine legends[edit]

Legends of lost mines are probably worldwide. Those listed below are just a sampling.







  • Chivor mine, an emerald mine lost for 200 years, then found again.[2]



  • In the 19th century, gold fever was prevalent in the Ural region near Ekaterinburg. There are many legends of the lost mines, for example in Mamin-Sibiryak's stories.
  • There are many modern stories of lost diamond mines in the Yakutia region of north and northeast Russia

United States[edit]








New Mexico[edit]






The Agatha Christie Poirot short story "The Lost Mine" features a map revealing the location of a lost mine in Burma. The map is stolen in London, and its carrier murdered.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CBC News {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ I. A. Mumme (1982) The Emerald, Port Hacking, New South Wales: Mumme Publications, pp. 21–22.
  • Dobie, J. Frank (1930). "Coronado's Children". Southwest Press. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) – Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie collected many tales of lost mines of the American Southwest in the collection Coronado's Children. The title refers to those who followed the legends of hidden riches, like Coronado did in the 17th century.
  • Jameson, W.C. (1993). "Buried Treasures of the Rocky Mountain West". August House. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)