Abandoned Mineshafts are naturally generated structures that were added in Beta 1.8, along with strongholds. They were also added in TU5 for the Xbox 360 Edition and 0.9.0 for Minecraft: Pocket Edition.
Abandoned mineshafts are usually filled with cobwebs and many cave spider spawners. Entrances to the spawner rooms are filled with cobwebs, so it's best to bring some shears. Abandoned mineshafts are also rich with ores. The support beams are made of wooden planks and fences. Abandoned mineshafts provide a very good source of wood while a player mines underground. There is a rare chance that mineshafts will generate inside of a ravine and intersect said ravine.
There are minecarts with chests throughout the abandoned mineshafts that contain resources, such as gold and iron ingots, rails, golden apples, or seeds. Rails can also be found during the excavation in the shaft. On occasion, abandoned mineshafts can connect to strongholds or dungeons. The Pocket Edition did not have chests in mineshafts until 0.14.0.
Exploring a mineshaft can be quite dangerous but otherwise beneficial. Be sure to bring the following:
- An iron or diamond sword to fight any hostile mobs that spawn.
- An iron or diamond pickaxe to mine the ores one may find. It may be advisable to bring backup pickaxes to save durability.
- Some buckets of milk (these can help cure poison caused by cave spiders).
- Blocks like cobblestone or dirt, so that pillars or bridges can be made.
- Shears to collect cobwebs (If needed).
- A water bucket in case of lava.
- Armor to protect a player from fall damage or hostile mobs.
- Torches to mark a player's path and prevent mobs from spawning.
- If possible, bring potions to help give one the upper hand in mob combat, preferably bring potions of strength, regeneration, or splash potions of instant health.
- A furnace or blast furnace to smelt ores while mining, it is advisable to get fuel sources like coal.
- Lapis Lazuli
- Redstone Dust
- Iron Ingot
- Gold Ingot
- Melon Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Iron Pickaxe
- Golden Apple
- Wood planks
- Spider Eye
- Enchanted Book
- Name Tag
- In the Beta 1.8 pre-releases 1 and 2, support beams in mines were only made of planks. Fences were added later in the Beta 1.8 version.
- All abandoned mineshafts have a companion cavern that follows it.
- Mineshafts intersecting a dungeon or stronghold are more common in the console editions because worlds are much smaller, and they provide less area for the structures to generate separately.
- A rare glitch can cause a mineshaft to be floating in the sky when using the preset "Desert" for a superflat world.
- In mesa biomes, above-ground mineshafts can generate.