When a mine closes, the impact is often more dramatic than it would be for other kinds of industry, as mines frequently constitute a large proportion of the local economy. In the classic remote mining town, closing a mine often means closing the town as well. The remoteness often means that there are few or no alternative employment opportunities. Historically, ideas for regeneration of such sites have been limited and any efforts to deal with legacy sites, or site closure, have tended to focus on environmental mitigation aspects and rehabilitation of the landscape. In recent years, both legislators and leading mining companies have been looking for ways to ensure that when a mine closes, other activities are in place to provide a sustainable post-mining economy. The Post-Mining Alliance has been collating the best and most creative examples of real post-mining regeneration projects around the world. These are the projects that have excelled and transformed not just landscapes but former mining communities, leaving a positive legacy for future generations. Many of these ideas have been brought togther in the recently publicshed '101 Things to do with a Hole in the Ground', a book produced in partnership with Euromines and Rio Tinto (Pearman, 2009). Taking that project as a starting point, this paper draws on the variety of creative initiatives that have transformed old mines into new futures - heritage and tourism attractions, wildlife habitats, educational, sport and leisure facilities and dozens of industrial uses - demonstrating that mining legacy can be converted from liability to opportunity and benefit local communities.
Pearman, G. (2010). New landscapes: New lives. In A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, & J. Wiertz (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Viña del Mar (pp. 589-593).