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Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Soudan

Categories: State Parks, Mines, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
5/5 based on 130+ reviews on the web
The Soudan Underground Mine State Park is a Minnesota state park at the site of the Soudan Underground Mine, on the south shore of Lake Vermilion, in the Vermilion Range (Minnesota). The mine is known as Minnesota's oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine, and now hosts the Soudan Underground Laboratory. As the Soudan Iron Mine, it has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.HistoryIn the late 19th century, prospectors searching for gold in northern Minnesota discovered extremely rich veins of hematite at this site, often containing more than 65% iron. An open pit mine began operation in 1882, and moved to underground mining by 1900 for safety reasons. From 1901 until the end of active mining in 1962, the Soudan Mine was owned by the United States Steel Corporation's Oliver Iron Mining division. By 1912 the mine was at a depth of 1,250 feet (381 m). When the mine closed, level 27 was being developed at 2,341 feet (713.5 m) below the surface and the entire underground workings consisted of more than fifty miles of drifts, adits, and raises. In 1965, US Steel donated the Soudan Mine to the State of Minnesota to use for educational purposes.The primary underground mining method used was known as cut and fill. This involved mining the ceiling and using Ely Greenstone and other waste rock to artificially raise the floor at the same rate as the ceiling was being mined out. As a result the floor and ceiling were always 10–20 feet (3–6 m) apart, and waste rock never had to be hauled to the surface, since it was recycled. This technique was particularly suited to the Soudan Mine due to the strength of the hematite formations and the weakness of the encasing Greenstone. This method was not possible in the nearby mines in Ely because the iron formations there were fractured and thus were not as structurally stable as those at Soudan.
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  • This was my first time touring the mine, always been on my list to do. Very pretty drive from Duluth. For two people we paid $24, the tour was nearly two hours. No bags or hats are allowed down in the...  read more »
  • We went on two tours, the mine tour and the physics tour. Call ahead to find out if they are still offering the physics tour, because the lab was shut down and being moved. The ride down the shaft is ...  read more »
  • You will gain a "deep" appreciation for the life of the deep rock iron miners in Minnesota's past. The tour guides do a fabulous job of portraying exactly what the life was like underground. The ride ...  read more »
  • It was awesome! Couple years back and on 3rd rain day of fishing we were looking for something to do so ( other than fishing wet again ) toured the mine. It was incredible! Great great great!
  • Took my whole family. They loved it. I had been 20+ years ago. Just as good today as it was back then. Great experience.
  • Very fun tour to go on. There are bats, but they won't bother you, I promise. If you ever get the opportunity, I would definitely recommend checking this out!
  • Truly a very unique experience going down in a real mine. Makes you think how difficult somebody else's job can be. Or makes you appreciate yours a lot more.
  • Do NOT miss this experience! I took my three boys (ages 14, 9 and 7) and they loved every minute. We all learned so much! Our guide, James, was dynamic and knowledgeable. The tour of the mine and the engine room were spectacular. We all want to go back again! I recommend you book tickets in advance because they sell out quickly on the day. Plan on spending about 3-4 hours total because you will want time to walk around the grounds.
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