Over New Year I visited another mine. I'm trying to visit as many as I can before they vanish or are turned into stale museums. The remoteness of this mine has probably saved it from either of these fates.
It is located right next to a popular hiking trail that starts from the small village of Sandiaoling, which I wrote about here. Almost everyone walks right past it. The first time I walked this trail I did too. It's fairly overgrown, and the outbuilding visible from the trail just looks like a farmers hut. The only other clue is a rusting ventilation shaft, but it's well covered by plants. It was the keen eye of a friend who realized this was part of a mine.
I can't find any information about this mine at all. I only found a couple of pictures captioned "abandoned coal mine", from a Chinese language hiking blog. Apart from this I couldn't find anything about it's history, or accounts from other visitors.
The mine entrance is sealed within an L-shaped tunnel. However, the tunnel itself and the other outbuildings are still interesting. A rough path through bamboo stands leads to the tunnel entrance. The first part of this tunnel is a siding where carts were stored and unloaded. There are still a number of wooden mine carts inside, along with their tracks and some cave crickets. The mine entrance is in the far corner of the tunnel and is sealed with metal barriers. I found the entrance and the way it's been sealed a little unsettling. There was a small incense burner next to it in the total darkness. I wondered if the incense burner was there because people had died within the mine, and a shrine had been made. A friend later told me it was probably for miners to pray at for safety. The entrance seal also has something of the 'dead inside don't open' Walking Dead look.
Turning into the other part of the tunnel's L, tracks lead to the cart hoist room. A man called Mr Wu has made something of a camp here. Initially I thought he was a hermit, but actually he is a computer engineer who stays here every so often. He's cleared a lot of the thick undergrowth and made it easier to get around the site. Perhaps before he did this everyone missed this mine because it was too overgrown. He's quite friendly, but I feel he probably wants to be left alone, hence my vague location details for this post. I also would hate to see the site damaged.
The hoist room has a huge cable wrapped around its drum and a lot of other gears and wheels around. It's quite an interesting space with a lot of machinery and relics. Mr Wu said he thinks the mine has been abandoned for about 30-40 years. From the architecture I think it was established sometime in the forties, and I'd agree that it has been left for a few decades at least. Hidden next to the L-tunnel building is the ventilation room. Inside is an enormous tube for sucking air either into or out of the bowels of the mine.