- The Upper Level of the mine connects northern Coastal Highway (near Abandoned Lookout) to southern Pleasant Valley (near Thomson's Crossing).
- The Lower Level of the mine is in Coastal Highway near the Log Sort and is relatively small. An electric-powered elevator in its depths leads up to the Middle Level of the mine, which becomes useable only when powered at night during an active Aurora.
- The Middle Level offers a series of interconnected tunnels with rich loot, but also electrified hazards. It can only be accessed via entering the Lower Level and using the elevator during an active Aurora.
The Feels Like temperature inside of mines is very warm on all Game Modes, and since no animals spawn inside they can serve as dark but safe shelter.
Cinder Hills Coal Mine is similar to Abandoned Mine No. 3. They both have long, dark tunnels that connect the two regions together.
Caution should be taken when exploring the Middle Level of the mine: electrified wires and electrified water can kill the reckless, and those who take too long will become trapped when the Aurora ends and the elevator becomes unpowered.
The Cinder Hills Coal Mine is an abundant and renewable source of Coal fuel. Coal is highly valuable to heat a Furnace hot enough to forge Arrowheads, Improvised Hatchets, and Improvised Knives. Coal is also useful on Stalker and Interloper in extremely cold survival situations, to increase Ambient Temperature hotter than wood fires. Coal respawns inside mines after several days.
Tools, First Aid supplies, and Clothing can be found on Corpses, in Lockers, or scattered about. A Workbench can also be found in a room in the center of the mine, though it requires a light source to use.
Firearms and other high-quality loot can spawn in the Middle Level.
Mines are not large but are pitch black beyond their entrances at all hours of day, and feature numerous dead ends or circuits. They can make navigation extremely difficult without a light source. It is advised to bring a Storm Lantern, Torch, or Flare while exploring them.
Caution should be taken when exploring the Middle Level of the mine during an Aurora. Live wires and electrified water will kill in seconds, and if the Aurora ends, the elevator will become unpowered, trapping the player inside until the next Aurora (at least 12 hours, but potentially many days). This hazard can be partially offset by leaving a stockpile of food, water, and a Sleeping Roll inside the middle level beyond the elevator.
- If you plan to explore the level accessible only during an Aurora (middle level) and want to create emergency stockpile of supplies in case you do not manage to leave before the Aurora ends, do not put the supplies on the elevator floor at the lower level where you start. The game mechanics make it so you get "teleported" to another location when you press the elevator button, but the elevator itself does not move. That means all supplies you put on the elevator floor prior to pressing the button will remain at their location at lower level, and will not appear near you on the elevator floor at the middle level. The supplies will still be there when (if) you return. Similarly, any supplies or items you drop on the elevator ground on the middle level will remain on that level and will not travel with you to the lower level when you press the elevator button to leave. You need to have the items in your inventory.