Tea and cake: Talking with communities about life after mining

J. E. Rose and H. L. Morgan

Cornwall has a history of mining over many centuries. Copper and tin mining had its heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s. More recently Mid-Cornwall has been a large producer of china clay or kaolin, exporting more than 2 million tonnes per year and employing up to 10,000 people at its height. However the last decade has seen a rapid decline in employment in the industry, down to less than 1,000 people today, and a pressing need to look at what the affected communities will do in the future. An interesting opportunity has presented itself through a major UK government initiative designed to respond to national housing shortages: the establishment of four eco-towns across the UK. It was announced in July 2009 that one of the eco-towns will be developed on the previously mined land in the Clay Country, on the doorstep of the Eden Project where the Post-Mining Alliance is based. Community involvement and the building of social capital are central themes in the stated ambition for the eco-towns. As a first step in the planning process, the local government authority engaged the Post-Mining Alliance team to carry out a series of innovative engagement activities over a six month period to solicit the views and aspirations of the local communities about the future and their expectations of what the eco-town might deliver. This paper reports on this consultation process and demonstrates how creative engagement approaches can encourage people to actively participate in post-mining regeneraiton and planning processes in a positive way. This approach has proved to be a powerful mechanism for collecting meaningful information and offers a firm basis for future planning and development in both new and existing communities affected by mining. The lessons learnt will be helpful to anyone interested in how to engage local communities in broadening aspirations for life after mining and forming a positive vision for the future.

Rose, J. E. & Morgan, H. L. (2010). Tea and cake: Talking with communities about life after mining. In A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, & J. Wiertz (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, ViƱa del Mar (pp. 159-166).

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Conference paper
Tea and cake: Talking with communities about life after mining