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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 is discovered and worked by a recluse who refuses to divulge the location, and dies without revealing the location.
- The mine is worked by native peoples who refuse to divulge the location to others.
- The mineral deposit is discovered in a remote location, and upon returning to the area the discoverer cannot find it again.
- The discoverer dies of hunger, thirst, or exposure shortly after discovering the deposit, and his body is found with rich ore specimens in his possession.
- The discoverers are killed by hostile natives. Sometimes the natives cover up the entrance to the mine.
- In Spanish 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
Legends of lost mines are probably worldwide. Those listed below are just a sampling.
- Lasseter's Reef (Never actually mined)
- Lost Lemon Mine, Alberta
- Pitt Lake gold find, British Columbia
- Jolly Jack's Lost Mine, British Columbia
- Lost McLeod Mine, Northwest Territories
- Johanssen's Lost Platinum Cache, British Columbia
- Foster's Lost Mine, Vancouver Island
- Lost Christie Lead, British Columbia
- Lost Silver Lead of Monashee Creek, British Columbia
- Lost diamond mine of Vicente Guerrero
- Lost Naranjal mine, Durango
- Planchas de Plata, Sonora, (sometimes called Bolas de Plata). Periodically assumed to be "lost," although the location is well documented.
- Tayopa silver mine, Sonora
- 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
- Lost Pegleg mine, California; supposedly found by mountain man "Pegleg" Smith
- Lost Breyfogle mine, California or Nevada
- The Lost Cement Mine, California
- The Lost Dutch Oven Mine, California
- Death Valley Scotty's secret mine, California or Nevada
- Lost Gunsight mine, California or Nevada
- Lost Padre mine, southern California
- Lost Pin, Delta County, Colorado
- Recluse Goatherder's Gold Mine, Colorado
- Three Skeletons, La Plata County, Colorado
- The Lost Sheepherders Mine, Nevada
- Lost Nigger Gold Mine, Texas
- San Saba mine (sometimes called the Lost Bowie mine or the Lost Almagres mine), Texas
- Danville's Lost Gold Ledge, Washington (state)
- Janni's chimney, Washington (state)
- Lost Doukhobor Ledge, Washington (state)
- CBC News http://archives.cbc.ca/science_technology/unexplained/clips/9708/. Missing or empty
- 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 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 requires