Heavy metal pollution has pervaded many parts of the world, especially developing countries such as China. This review summarizes available data in the literature (2005-2012) on heavy metal polluted soils originating from mining areas in China. Based on these obtained data, this paper then evaluates the soil pollution levels of these collected mines and quantifies the risks these pollutants pose to human health. To assess these potential threat levels, the geoaccumulation index was applied, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommended method for health risk assessment. The results demonstrate not only the severity of heavy metal pollution from the examined mines, but also the high carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks that soil heavy metal pollution poses to the public, especially to children and those living in the vicinity of heavily polluted mining areas. In order to provide key management targets for relevant government agencies, based on the results of the pollution and health risk assessments, Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn, Hg, As, and Ni are selected as the priority control heavy metals; tungsten, manganese, lead-zinc, and antimony mines are selected as the priority control mine categories; and southern provinces and Liaoning province are selected as the priority control provinces. This review, therefore, provides a comprehensive assessment of soil heavy metal pollution derived from mines in China, while identifying policy recommendations for pollution mitigation and environmental management of these mines. © 2013.