Known as the “Experimental Mine” the Mina de Nopal is located on the Carretera Panorámica close to the intersection with the Dolores Hidalgo highway.
It has been run by the University of Guanajuato, which uses it to provide practice for its Mineralogy students. In addition, it attracts thousands of students every year.
Extraction of metals such as gold, silver, zinc and copper first began here in the year 1886. Forty years later, the mine ceased operations, but it left us a whole subterranean world to explore. The mine is home to the San Nicolás gallery, measuring some one hundred and eighty meters in length. Inside are several tunnles of over two hundred meters in length. One of these connects to the former hacienda of Santa Cecilia, today the site of a nearby hotel designed in the form of a castle.
Touring these tunnels, we can still see the objects that for centuries served the mine workers in their labors, such as hand tools and mine cars, as well as more modern devices such as jackhammers.
This is also the site of the old Santo Domingo shaft, which is one hundred and fifty meters deep. The mine itself is some three hundred meters deep and extends for around three and a half kilometers, connecting with the Nueva Luz and Valenciana mines. One of these connecting tunnels leads to an altar dedicated to Our Lord of Villaseca in the church at Cata. Here, there is a small stage where, until a few years ago, actors performed stories of the old mining industry for the Cervantes Arts Festival.
In addition to this, the Mina de Nopal, also plays host to festivals and commemorative events at the request of the public.