Archive | Mining Tourism

Mount Isa, a city of mining, huge distances and a close-knit community – by Oliver Lewis ( – April 23, 2017)

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, large white gumboots and a hard hat with a torch on the front we descend into the mine. I’m in Mount Isa, deep in the north-west of the Queensland Outback. It is a city built by mining, rising from the arid red dirt of the landscape in 1923, after prospector John Campbell Miles first discovered lead ore here.

From the air, the land surrounding Mount Isa, or The Isa as it is known by locals, looks like the scarred surface of an alien planet. From my window seat in the plane, the rocks below reflect back beams of light from the setting sun, hinting at the great seams of zinc, copper, lead and silver buried under the dirt.

We’re on the Hard Times Mine Underground Tour , just beside the Outback at Isa visitor centre, in the middle of the city of around 22,000. Because of health and safety precautions, tours into the actual mines closed a few decades ago, so the city built its own mock mine, with around 1.2 kilometre of tunnels. Our tour group is led by Alan Rackham, a miner of 49 years who over the course of the next two-and-a-half hours takes us through the history of mining in the area. Continue Reading →

Renewables roadshow: how Broken Hill went from mining to drag queens and solar farms – by Michael Slezak (The Guardian – April 12, 2017)

The home of BHP and Mad Max can now take credit for kickstarting the large-scale solar industry in Australia

Broken Hill is the birthplace of modern mining in Australia. It lends its initials “BH” to the mining giant BHP, and in January 2015 in an Australian first, the so-called Silver City was added to the National Heritage list in part due to its mining industry.

The city is cut in half by a mine, with a giant pile of waste material rising from its centre. It can be seen from every street in town, like a monument to the stuff the city was built from.

But over the years, mining in Broken Hill has declined. Even the titular hill, the one that appeared “broken”, has been mined away. As it disappeared, so did the jobs. Around 30,000 people once lived in Broken Hill, with 3,500 employed in the mines. Nowadays the population is around 18,000; approximately 500 of those work in mining. Continue Reading →

[Deadwood, South Dakota] Back to the wild, wild west – by Wayne Newton (Brantford Expositor – April 15, 2012)

There’s no sugar-coating history at the Adams Museum. Violence, gambling, prostitution, stuffed pet cocker spaniels left by a rich pillar of the community, a two-headed calf and a children’s play area. It’s all there for visitors to absorb at the too-often-overlooked Deadwood, South Dakota, institution.

While Eastern-style honesty might not have been a hallmark of Deadwood when it was set up as a rogue mining camp in the Dakota territory during the 1800s, integrity and frankness have become hallmarks at a museum, which should be the starting point for tourists who truly want to appreciate Deadwood and its colourful, controversial history.

First-time tourists arrive for the main street stroll, where historical re-enactors stage gunfights with quick storylines, check out where legendary Wild Bill Hickok held his dead man’s poker hand of black aces and eights, and maybe make the arduous trek to Mount Moriah Cemetery to view the graves of Wild Bill, his adoring Calamity Jane and sheriff Seth Bullock. Those without children in tow will find scores of casinos, where poker remains the big draw amid the enticing din of modern slot machines. Continue Reading →

Dawson City wants to designate worm-like piles of mine tailings as protected historical site – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – March 8, 2017)

In what appears to be a Canadian first, a community is hoping to inaugurate mining waste as a protected historic site. Dawson City, Yukon, the former capital of the Klondike Gold Rush, is aiming to preserve several hectares of unremediated dredge tailings.

“It does seems a little bit odd that you would want to set aside what looks like worm casings, but it’s part of our history,” said Mayor Wayne Potoroka, noting that several piles have already been flattened to make way for new developments.

In a letter to territorial officials requesting municipal heritage status, Dawson City noted it was seeking the “protection necessary to ensure its cultural value isn’t lost.” The tailings are all the result of dredge mining. Continue Reading →

First-ever mining tourism project gives a cutting edge to Vidarbha – by Vinita Chaturvedi (Times of India – December 17, 2016)

It all started in November 2015 when Western Coalfields Limited opened its mines for the tourists in Maharashtra, a concept that was visualised in March 2015. And now, a year down the line, it will be taken to the next level as WCL and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation get ready to sign a memorandum of understanding tomorrow in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal. We track its far-reaching implications…

General manager of MTDC, Swati Kale shares, “Mining tourism that is popular in countries like Chile and Australia, is a novel concept for India. We are sure, along with a lot of Indian tourists, it would also attract several foreign tourists. This tie-up with WCL will put Vidarbha on world tourism map.”

This is the first ever eco-mining project in India, shares the managing director of WCL, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra. He goes on to add, “We have opened two mines for tourists — opencast mine at Gondegaon and underground mine at Saoner. Continue Reading →

Oppenheimers, De Beers polishing diamond tourism’s sparkle – by Martin Creamer ( – October 18, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The priceless value of diamond properties to South African ecotourism was highlighted on Tuesday when the outcomes of a range of research projects were revealed at the seventh Oppenheimer De Beers Group Research Conference.

Delivering a keynote address at the corporate headquarters of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP, a lifelong conservationist, outlined the importance of conservation to South Africa beyond mining and spoke of being prepared to fight to preserve the country’s valuable natural heritage “so long as there’s breath in my lungs”.

Buthelezi described the audience of academics, students and environmental managers as the “nation’s diamonds” of today, for their role in protecting tomorrow’s inheritance. Continue Reading →

Save ‘breathtaking’ west Quebec mine from demolition, petition urges – by Trevor Pritchard (CBC News Ottawa – October 04, 2016)

Tourists have flocked to remote Wallingford-Back Mine over past year, annoying residents

A scenic, off-limits mine in western Quebec that’s seen an influx of visitors over the past year could end up being demolished if a campaign to save it is unsuccessful.

The Wallingford-Back Mine, located approximately 60 kilometres northeast of Ottawa, has become a popular spot for paddlers, ice skaters and explorers, all drawn to its pristine turquoise waters and imposing rock pillars. However, Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has issued an ultimatum to the regional municipality of Papineau, Que.: either invest money to secure the mine from trespassers, or demolish it.

In response, supporters of the mine launched a petition this weekend calling upon the site to be protected for its “undeniable richness, not only for the Outaouais region, but also for all of Quebec.” The petition had about 1,800 signatures by Monday afternoon. Continue Reading →

Fancy a trip down to the bowels of the earth? Coal India will take you – by Debabrata Das (Hindu Business – April 19, 2016)

NEW DELHI – Are you an explorer at heart and crave adventure? Then Coal India Ltd (CIL) has just the right thing for you. This vacation, instead of going to a hill station or hitting the beaches, go for a trip to two active coal mines.

Coal India is offering a peek into its operations by promoting eco-mine tourism at two mines operated by its subsidiary, Western Coalfields Ltd.

In a bid to showcase the minimal environmental impact of coal mining operations, Western Coalfields has created a 15-acre eco-park between Saoner and Gondegaon mines near Maharashtra. Tourists can visit the depths of the Saoner underground mine and also watch the operations at the Gondegaon opencast mine from a distance. Continue Reading →

Underground hockey in an abandoned mine (CTV News Ottawa – January 29, 2016)

It’s a classic winter pastime. But, in a remote part of West Quebec, the simple act of skating outdoors has gone underground… literally.

Each winter, the crystal-clear ice that forms at the bottom of an old, abandoned mine north of Buckingham, Quebec forms a skating rink like no other.

“What can you say? Continue Reading →

Murdochville looks to tourism to shake ghosts of mining past (CBC News Montreal – March 29, 2015)

Former copper town banking on outdoor recreation to secure its future

Like many small communities that once dotted Quebec’s landscape, Murdochville was born a company town, built on the back of a mining boom.

Rich in copper ore, the mine was in operation for more than 50 years, an exceptionally long run compared to the average life span.

But when the mining company pulled out more than a dozen years ago, the town’s economy crashed.

Now many believe the community’s future lies in another natural resource: the nature that surrounds the Gaspé Peninsula town. Continue Reading →

The real Deadwood: The South Dakota town made famous by the hit TV show – by Peter Fish ( – 2006)

This is a tale of two cities. The first is a mining camp in the Black Hills, where greed, lust, and violence kindle in such volatile combinations, you think they may burn the whole town down. The second is a tourist attraction whose tidy Main Street throngs with tourists jingling the quarters they won in the casino slots.

The first town is Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, as experienced on the HBO series Deadwood. The second is Deadwood, South Dakota, as experienced in real time in 2006. The genuine and virtual towns have become inseparable. It’s Deadwood’s real history that made the television series possible. It’s the television Deadwood that is breathing new life into the real town ― proving that in 2006, some juicy Western history can be as valuable as gold.

For proof of that statement, you can ask Mary Kopco. Director of Deadwood’s Adams Museum & House, she was in her office when someone from Hollywood phoned to gather facts about her town. How much would a miner’s pick have cost in 1876? What about a gold pan? Continue Reading →

Dynamic Earth breaks ground on outdoor science park – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – November 25, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A slag dump-inspired slide, an amphitheatre stage made from a mining truck bed, a climb-on Creighton Mine – the functional will become fun when Dynamic Earth unveils a new outdoor science park, due to open in June 2016.

Staff from Science North and Dynamic Earth joined City of Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger for a press conference in the Atlas Copco Theatre on Wednesday to announce the science park, part of a $3 million attraction renewal initiative, for which the city has kicked in $250,000.

“Visitors to Dynamic Earth, no matter what their ages, get to work and they get to play with real mining equipment and technologies and, of course, learn about the earth and earth sciences,” said Julie Moskalyk, senior manager at Dynamic Earth. Continue Reading →

For a ghost town, Jerome remains quite lively – by Margo Bartlett Pesek (Las Vegas Review-Journal – October 3, 2015)

Jerome, Arizona’s liveliest ghost town, has turned the bust of its mining wealth into a boom of tourism income. Instead of extracting the copper, gold and silver of old, Jerome now exploits its colorful past, picturesque downtown, splendid setting and thriving arts community to entice visitors.

Located on a mountainside in central Arizona, Jerome straddles scenic Highway 89A and overlooks the beautiful Verde Valley with the striking red cliffs of Sedona in the distance.

The former copper boomtown of Jerome is 285 miles from Las Vegas. Follow U.S. Highway 93 to Kingman, Ariz., then head east on Interstate 40. At Ash Fork, turn south on Highway 89 and drive 45 miles toward Prescott. Watch for the turnoff for 89A as you approach Prescott. Turn there and head east about 26 miles to reach Jerome. The dramatic route will take you over Mingus Mountain and steeply down toward the Verde Valley. This is not a safe route for large RVs or vehicles hauling long trailers. Oversize rigs should approach using other routes from Prescott or Flagstaff.

The curvy highway takes hairpin turns through the old town, its bridges cantilevered over the slopes. Continue Reading →

How German cities are turning former coal mines into parks [photos] – by Marielle Segarra ( – July 7, 2015)

I’m spending a few weeks in Germany as part of a German/American journalist exchange program through the RIAS Berlin Kommission and the Radio Television Digital News Foundation. During the trip, I’m sending back lessons on urban planning and revitalization from German cities. Today’s topic: how cities in the Ruhr region are embracing their heritage by repurposing industrial sites.

When I think of quintessentially European cities, I imagine cobblestone streets, historic brick buildings, magnificent cathedrals, sidewalk cafes, and chocolatiers on every corner. I think of cities with history stretching back hundreds, and even thousands of years. Paris. Or Brussels. Or Rome, or Prague, or Vienna, or Hamburg…

But of course, Europe has all kinds of different cities, each with their own unique aesthetic and history.

Last week, I visited several cities in Germany that don’t fit the mold. What’s most prominent about them isn’t ancient history, but rather, their more recent, industrial heritage.

The Ruhr region of Germany is a sprawling metropolitan area, with 5.2 million people and 53 cities with boundaries that blur together. For decades, the region was dotted with thousands of coal mines, steel mills, and other industry. Continue Reading →

[Mine workers as slaves] Japan’s UNESCO heritage bid draws ire over past labour abuse – by Elaine Kurtenach (Associated Press/Metro News – June 30, 2015)

GUNKANJIMA, Japan – Of countless ghostly abandoned factories and mines in Japan, this fortress island near Nagasaki is among the most notorious. It is also a source of national pride.

Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island, is one of 23 old industrial facilities seeking UNESCO’s recognition as world heritage “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” meant to illustrate Japan’s rapid transformation from a feudal farming society into an industrial power at the end of the 19th century.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is expected to approve the proposal during a meeting being held in Bonn, Germany, through July 9 after Japan and South Korea informally agreed on a promise to acknowledge, though it is unclear how, that Koreans were among the people who toiled at Gunkanjima and some other sites. The compromise also includes an agreement by Japan to support South Korean proposals for some world heritage site listings.

Japan’s bid for UNESCO recognition is confined to the 1868-1912 era of the Meiji Emperor, who presided over the country’s rush to industrialize and catch up with Western colonial powers. It excludes the years that followed, when Japan annexed Korea and eventually invaded China and other parts of Asia before and during World War II. Continue Reading →