Tin ore was discovered in the region of Ehrenfriedersdorf, 34 km south of Chemnitz, in the 13th century and was mined until the early 1990s. Some silver was also extracted from the local mines, as well as a wide variety of minerals.
Visitors are now carried on a train into the old workings 100 m below the surface, many of which are narrow and difficult of access, and were worked with hand tools. It is also possible to view the mining landscape of the region from the top of the mine headstock, and to see displays relating to the history of metal miningand the ways of life of the miners. A particular feature is the display of more than a thousand different minerals. Also on the surface is a grindery used for working precious stones.
The museum forms part of the Sächsisches Industriemuseum (The Saxony museum of industry).