"I am amazed at the amount of work that has gone into making this mine. Where only a few idle Ussal Crabs and abandoned equipment had been before, all is now abuzz with activity, thanks to the Lightstones."
— Takua's thoughts, Mata Nui Online Game
Work began on the Great Mine as soon as the Onu-Matoran had established Onu-Koro. Its quarries, which reached deep into the earth, provided many of the raw materials used in other villages across Mata Nui. Stone dug here fueled the creations of Po-Matoran Carvers, and Protodermis was brought from deposits within the earth and traded amongst the Matoran.
Other precious resources, such as Ore, were mined here as well. Turaga Whenua normally helped the mining process by using the properties of his Drill of Onua to detect Kofo-Jaga nests before any miner struck one. The preferred method of excavation was shaft mining, which involved creating a vertical or near-vertical tunnel from the top down, with no access to the bottom except by elevator. It was divided into shafts designated by letter names, and then further into mine shafts designated by number. Soon after the coming of the Toa, the mining guilds hit an underground rock layer at the bottom of Shaft B that they could not break through. Unbeknownst to the Matoran, this was the outermost layer of the Protodermis layer created by Mata Nui's camouflage system. Shafts 3 and 8 ceased Protodermis mining because of this, and feared that the deposits would soon run out gripped Onu-Koro. The Mining Captains tried to convince Whenua to supply more workers and machines, but the obstructed access to the Cavern of Light and the state of the construction of heavily delayed Le-Koro Highway were occupying much of the Turaga's attention.
Takua the Chronicler arrived to investigate and traveled down the elevator to discover that the only feature of the rock layer was a strange disk with astrological markings. After delivering a message to the Ga-Matoran astrologer, Nixie, and retrieving the Gnomon, Takua returned to the Great Mine and using his Lightstone, activated the sundial, opening a passageway to a mysterious Golden Mask and allowing mining to continue. Later, this passageway was found to be an entrance to Teridax's lair. Takua traveled down this passageway to witness the Toa Mata's defeat of Teridax.
During the events of the Bohrok invasion, the Gahlok chose to strike Onu-Koro, because of the devastating effects their power of Water would have on the subterranean village. The Gahlok succeeded in flooding the Great Mine, and were only beaten back after Nuparu invented and constructed the Boxor from one of the fallen members of the swarm. In the aftermath of the attack, many pieces of expensive equipment, such as the Digger, were lost. Later, an annex of the Great Mine, the Marn Tunnels, was being developed as a way to continue mining, but the Mining Captain was having difficulty meeting demands with so much equipment lost in the flood. Hahli, who traveled to Onu-Koro during the Kolhii Tournament, assisted in the retrieval of the Digger, using her skill as a good Ga-Matoran swimmer.
The Great Mine was later cleared and destroyed by the re-awakened Bohrok swarms.
The Miners and Prospectors greatly benefited from the mechanical marvels produced by Onu-Koro's Engineers. These included elevators that carried Matoran from level to level, powerful Lightstone-powered light fixtures, small computerized task pads, specialized telescopes, and tools crafted in the likeness of Turaga Whenua's Drill of Onua. Other tools and materials that were readily available were also used to their advantage, such as Pickaxes or Sluices. Ussals were often outfitted with mining paraphernalia, such as rotating gears, or made to pull carts of stone and Ore to assist with the mining efforts.
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