Probing the Depths of an Abandoned Russian Iron Mine

The team stow away their valuables and kit themselves out with the appropriate gear, ready for the adventure that lies ahead. Located near the wreck of a concrete pile driver, the way into the mine turns out to be a ventilation shaft sealed with a steel plug. All of the other possible entrances are similarly blocked or concreted over. The message is clear: do not enter. And with good reason. Abandoned mines are no place for inexperienced sightseers. Hidden dangers lurk around every dark corner; indeed, they linger in the very air itself.

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Yet, these mine explorers are not to be put off by hazards that might discourage less intrepid – or foolhardy – folk. And the physical barrier of a steel stopper certainly doesn’t deter them. The team has a blowtorch that makes quick work of the metal seal, sparks flying down into the darkness below. A few minutes’ work and they’re in – descending into a mine whose maximum depth is 880 meters (2,887 feet) beneath the surface.

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