salt mine

noun
1.
a mine from which salt is excavated.
2.
Usually, salt mines. a place of habitual confinement and drudgery: After two weeks of vacation it will be back to the salt mines for the staff.

Origin:
1675–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
The short version is: they drilled an oil well into an active salt mine.
The bone they haven't thrown you is the one you desperately need--more time away from the salt mine.
The mine is an underground salt mine using conventional room and pillar mining methods.
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