A Lake Dries Up. A Mine:

Once you’ve extracted all of the ore, gems, or whatever you’re going to get from a mine, what word or phrase described what happened to the mine?

As in, “Mining Town, Colorado thrived from the discovery of silver in 1860 until the silver mines ____________ by 1917.”

were exhausted

played out

“Dried up” works here too.

Speaking as somebody who has lived in the west all my life, and has done a lot of reading about history, including mining –

“Played out” is the most common phrase.

I thought this was some kind of trick question regarding sex, so my initial response was: “petered out.”

Mines are “exhausted” or “worked out”. I’ve never heard “played out”, but it works.


Failed to generate acceptable profit margins.

Infested by creepers.

I’d say something more along the lines of “silver mining activity dwindled/diminished” might more accurately describe what probably happened.

Minds work in different ways - I thought the thread title was supposed to be a palindrome.


I’ve only heard “played out”.

I have some experience in mining of minerals and gases. “Mineral field depleted” and “vespene geyser exhausted” are the terms my top advisor always used.

Mines can still contain a great deal of realisable resources, but they can readily be killed off by cheaper alternative sources of supply.

Gold, and lead and copper were extensively mined in the UK, but its way cheaper to extract from other mines, so they are shut down - yet not worked out

This is the correct technical term used in the drilling and mining industry.

Adjutant online…
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My geological engineer friend used to say - “the difference between ore and rock is whether the mineral can be extracted with a profit.”

I would have answered “exhausted” or “mined out”.

People who actually work in the field, and people who report on the field and are familiar with it, as opposed to merely talking about the field, have a strong tendency to use “played out.”

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You can do this to trousers, too.