The mining near Soudan, MN began operation in 1882 as a open pit mine operation, 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. When the mine closed, level 27 was being developed at 2,341 feet below the surface and the entire underground workings consisted of more than fifty miles of drifts, audits, and raises. In 1965, US Steel donated the Soudan Mine to the State of Minnesota to use for educational purposes.
This is part of the display at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Once ore left the crusher house, it traveled up the conveyor (located in the enclosed section of the trestle) to the loading pocket. The loading pocket is located beneath the “Head House”, which is the building at the top of the trestle. This is where the conveyor and pocket systems were controlled. After the crushed ore reached the loading pocket, it went one of two directions. It was either sent directly to an awaiting ore car for transport on the railroad to Two Harbors and the ore barges of Lake Superior or it was run out to the stockpile area at the end of the trestle. The mine stopped shipping ore from the stockpile below this trestle in 1963. The mine is known as Minnesota's oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine and has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark as well as a Minnesota State Park. The surface buildings are open to the public, and during the summer months there are daily tours of the mine where visitors are lowered in an 80-year-old electric mine hoist to level 27, the mine's lowest level at 2,341 feet (713.5 m) below ground to experience what it was like to be an underground miner and tour the last area of mining taking place underground.