Mineral Extraction 101 – Restoration after Extraction – Cool Sites

Go Lean Commentary

We have been known to say … repeatedly:

We cannot change the past.
All we can do is learn from the past and change the present/future.

We talk the talk with this verbiage; we also walk the walk.

A lot of harm has been done to the Caribbean, environmentally, due to mining and Mineral Extraction. The earth has been scarred-and-scotched. But …

… there is now the opportunity to not just learn wisdom from those previous bad experiences but also to transform the scarred-and-scotched land into “Cool Sites”. We can and should make attractions for visitors, sightseers and adventure-seekers.

We can turn lemons into lemonade.

If we succeed at doing this, we will not be the first ones or the only ones. No, this strategy has developed into a globally-recognized Best Practice for reclaiming scarred-and-scotched terrains, damaged by previous mining or extraction activities. See this portrayed in this “Feature Article” here:

Title 1: Abandoned mines transformed into amazing tourist attractions
Mark Johanson

What do you do with a mine after it’s fulfilled its original purpose?

An increasing number of destinations across the globe are turning sources of extraction into places of attraction.

Here’s a look at six innovative regeneration projects that are breathing new life into former industrial wastelands, including one that opened earlier this year.

Zip Below Xtreme

This new thrill ride from Go Below Underground Adventures is located in an abandoned slate mine at depths that reach 375 meters (1,230 feet) beneath the mountains of Wales’ Snowdonia National Park.

It became the deepest zip wire in the world when it opened to the public in March 2105 and also claims to be the world’s longest subterranean attraction with three miles (five kilometers) of track, including a bloodcurdling 21-meter freefall.

Zip Below Xtreme, Conwy Falls Caf, A5 (Pentrefoelas Road), Betws-y-coed, Snowdonia, Wales, UK; +44 016 9071 0108

Salina Turda

Salina Turda was the first major experiment in turning a disused mine into a non-traditional tourist attraction when it opened to the public in 1992.

Located in the heart of Transylvania, in western Romania, visitors descend 120 meters underground along the same elevator shafts that once hauled salt to the surface.

At the bottom sits an underground theme park with a grab bag of attractions like a miniature golf course, Ferris wheel, bowling alley and underground boating lake.

Salina Turda also has a spa and wellness center capitalizing on the healing properties of the cave’s naturally occurring salts and 80% humidity.

Salina Turda, Aleea Durgaului 7, Turda, Romania; +40 3642 60940

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine was included alongside the Galapagos Islands and Yellowstone National Park on UNESCO’s first set of World Heritage Sites.

It remains one of Poland’s top tourist attractions to this day, drawing more than 1.2 million annual visitors.

Built in the 13th century, it was one of the world’s oldest continuously operating mines until workers ceased production in 2007.

Now, Wieliczka is perhaps better known as “Poland’s Underground Salt Cathedral,” where visitors can tour some 22 chambers, including intricate chapels, statues and chandeliers all carved out of rock salt by miners over the centuries.

A newer addition to Wieliczka is the hotel and health resort, located 125 meters underground.

It offers treatment services in chambers that offer a constant temperature and high humidity, are free of pollution and allergens and rich in micronutrients.

The disused mine is also a hub of Polish culture, hosting a regular series of concerts, art exhibitions and special events.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, ul. Danilowicza 10, 32-020 Wieliczka, Poland; +48 1227 87302 

[See the Appendix VIDEO below.]

The Eden Project

One of the most celebrated landmarks in Cornwall, England lies within the open clay pit of a former kaolinite mine.

The Eden Project, as it’s known, is a series of interconnecting thermoplastic enclosures that emulate different global environments, from the 1.6-acre Mediterranean Biome to the 3.9-acre Tropical Biome — one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests.

This “pit to paradise” project first opened to the public in March 2001 and added an additional education facility, The Core, in 2005 to help communicate its central message about the interdependence of people and plants.

The former mine was seeping mineral waste as recently as October 1998, but now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year not only for the gardens, but also for art exhibitions, ice skating and a popular concert series called The Eden Sessions.

The Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, UK; +44 01726 811911

Bounce Below

What do you get when you mix 930 square meters of bouncy nets, one disused cavern and the classic childhood game of Chutes and Ladders?

That, in essence, is the recipe for Bounce Below, a multi-tiered trampoline lit in Technicolor and suspended within a Victorian-era slate mine in Gwynedd, Wales.

Bounce Below opened to the public last July as “the world’s largest underground trampoline,” offering one-hour timeslots to enjoy three separate nets spread across a distance of 180 feet (55 meters) from top to bottom.

Each level is connected by a series of vertigo-inducing slides and ramps, and surrounded by walls of mesh to keep visitors from bouncing out into the abyss.

Bounce Below, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog; +44 1248 601 444

MORE: Deep thrills: The crazy cave trampolines of Wales

Mega Cavern

Over the past few months, mountain bike pros have flocked to the most unlikely of locations to perfect their skills: an abandoned limestone quarry and former Cold War fallout shelter hidden within the bowels of Louisville, Kentucky.

The latest attraction at the Louisville Mega Cavern easily snagged the title of world’s largest indoor bike park when it opened to the public this February, 30 meters below the Louisville Zoo.

The 33,000 square meter playground has 45 trails covering more than 19 kilometers of track, including a mix of BMX-style jump courses and beginner-level alternatives.

One of the best features of the manmade cavern — which also includes zip lines, aerial ropes courses and tram rides — may be its four-season appeal.

At a constant 10 degrees Celsius (50 F), Mega Cavern maintains the same temperature in the dead of winter as it does in the dog days of summer.

Mega Cavern, 1841 Taylor Ave., Louisville, Kentucky; +1 877 614 6342


Mark Johanson is a freelance travel and culture writer based in Santiago, Chile.

Source: CNN – May 19, 2015; retrieved January 25, 2021 from: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/abandoned-mines-tourist-attractions/index.html

Wow, even World Heritage Sites have emerged from previous mines around the world. They did it! We can too!

Alas, our Mineral Extraction activities in the Caribbean is less-mining and more top-of-the-land excavations. Still, the same strategy can be pursued. There have been a lot of “Cool Sites” for visitors, sightseers and adventure-seekers. Look at this actuality at a lot of the “Old Mines”in the US State of Arizona.

Title 2: Arizona’s Mining Attractions
Subtitle: History & Culture
By: Edie Jarolim

Fascinated by underground activities? You’ll hit pay dirt in Arizona, home to the most famous gold mine that might never have existed and host to the world’s largest gem and mineral show.

This quick zip through the state’s mining highlights includes everything from Old West towns that rose and fell by their mineral wealth to today’s thriving museums and exhibitions. (Museum of Northern Arizona pictured above).

Mining in Southern Arizona

The legacy of the silver vein that established one of the world’s most notorious western towns lies mainly in the town’s name: Prospector Ed Schieffelin was warned that venturing into Apache territory would earn him only his Tombstone.

Prosperous for far longer was nearby Bisbee, offering tours of the Copper Queen Mine with the miners who once worked there, vistas into the gaping Lavender mine pit and the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate. Many mine executives bedded down at the Gadsden Hotel in nearby Douglas, which smelted the ore from Bisbee’s mines.

In Tucson, the University of Arizona Mineral Museum is among the top in the country, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum features excellent earth science exhibits.

Ajo, a trim mining company town near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the southwest, has two small museums and one large open pit mine overlook.

But mining is far from being history in “The Copper State.” At Asarco’s Mission mine, just south of Tucson, visitors can learn about the industry and see modern copper strip-mining in action.

Nearly a million visitors descend on tiny Quartzsite, just east of the California border, for the QIA PowWow – Gem & Mineral Show in late January. And that’s just a prelude to events in Tucson, where the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and dozens of smaller shows around town draw national and international throngs during the first two weeks of February, outdoing every other gathering of its kind.

Mining in Central Arizona

Northwest of Phoenix, Wickenburg once hosted the Arizona Territory’s richest gold mine. Now you can visit Robson’s Ranch & Mining Camp, which re-creates an old mining camp, or take a self-guided tour of the abandoned Vulture Mine.

Drive the winding mountain roads from Wickenburg up to Jerome, where sights include Jerome State Historic Park, a former mine owner’s mansion, the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum and the Gold King Mining Museum & Ghost Town. In nearby Clarkdale, the Verde Canyon Railroad runs along tracks once used to haul minerals from Jerome.

Mining-related attractions along the spectacular Apache Trail east of Phoenix include the rare ore specimens at Superstition Mountain Museum, re-created Goldfield Ghost Town and the Lost Dutchman State Park, named for the world-renowned gold mine that prospectors are still trying to find.

Mining in Northern & Western Arizona

In the northwest, off old Route 66 near Oatman (an abandoned boomtown popular for its resident burros), the Gold Road Mine offers underground tours and gold panning. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff highlights the geology, fossils and minerals of the Colorado Plateau.

About the Author  – Edie Jarolim
is the author of three travel guides and one dog guide. Her book, “Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All,” is a memoir about her career as a guidebook editor for Frommer’s, Rough Guides, and Fodor’s and as a Tucson-based freelance travel writer.

Source: Visit Arizona Website – Retrieved January 25, 2021 from: https://www.visitarizona.com/like-a-local/arizonas-mining-attractions/

Considering the 2 foregoing embedded articles, we see that this whole subject aligns with the strategy asserted in the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean to promote World Heritage Sites in the region. As the time of publication, the Go Lean book identified the 21 World Heritage Sites in the region. But the take-away from the narrative was that more “Cool Site” could be fostered.

We have the need to pursue this strategy for reclaiming scarred-and-scotched lands in the region. This approach of “Cool Sites” can compliment our existing tourism products. This is truly a deep-dive in the Mineral Extraction ecosystem, as we had previously asserted that Mineral Extraction strategies are incompatible with tourism, but now we are confessing that “Reclaimed Mines” can have some touristic appeal; it allows us to explore more Eco-Tourism endeavors.

This is the continuation of the January 2021 Teaching Series from the movement behind the Go Lean book. Every month, as we engage in an effort to message about reforming and transforming the Caribbean economic engines, we recognize that our Caribbean disposition is tenuous. Our people had made a lot of mistakes in the past, but we are still required to forge a bright future for the Caribbean youth.

This is submission 5-of-6 for this January series. This issue is consistent for our discussion of regional life and culture. We want to make sound decisions about how to use for Natural Resources to enrich our people; and we want to learn from past mistakes. See the full series catalog here as follows:

  1. Mineral Extraction 101Raw Materials ==> Finished Goods
  2. Mineral Extraction 101Lesson from History: Jamaica’s Bauxite
  3. Mineral Extraction 101Industrial Reboot – Modern factories – Small footprints
  4. Mineral Extraction 101Commerce of the Seas – Encore
  5. Mineral Extraction 101 – Restoration after Extraction – Cool Sites
  6. Mineral Extraction 101Sovereign Wealth Fund – Not the Panacea

Previously Mineral Extraction – mining and drilling – have been very much destructive to the environment; think Jamaica, Guyana and Suriname Bauxite mining. This is why we have consistently urged Caribbean stakeholders to:

Just Say No … to Mining.

But since we cannot go back in time to our forefathers and change their decisioning, we can only fix the present to harness a better future. The strategy of fostering World Heritage Sites allow us to do both. In fact, this was the rationale of the United Nations in 1948 – after the destruction of World War II – to make concerted efforts to preserve, protect and promote monumental sites of historical significance. See this encyclopedic discussion from Page 248 of the Go Lean book:

The Bottom Line on UNESCO
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the UN Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations’ International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.

Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programs; international science programs; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; translations of world literature; attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide; the promotion of cultural diversity; and international cooperation agreements to secure the world’s culture and natural heritage (as in the World Heritage Sites).

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.

The designation is a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city [district] of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly. (Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund). The programme was founded with the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 189 states parties have ratified the convention.

As detailed above, that abandoned Salt Mine in Wieliczka, Poland is a classic World Heritage Site. (Poland is an Eastern European country with no commonality with our Caribbean actuality, and yet we can benefit from a consideration of their Best Practices). It is a role model for us to emulate in the Caribbean. It enjoys huge visitor traffic;  see more details here:

The [former salt] mine is currently one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments, whose attractions include dozens of statues and four chapels carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The older sculptures have been supplemented with new carvings made by contemporary artists. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually.[2] – Source: Wikipedia.

The Go Lean movement had always strategized for greater inclusion of World Heritage Sites (WHS); there are currently 21 sites with the WHS designation. 21, but why can there not be more?! In fact, there is a full advocacy in the book to double-down on all things WHS. Consider these excerpts, headlines and summaries from Page 248 of the book:

10 Ways to Promote World Heritage Sites

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

By embracing the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) initiative, the CU will allow for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people, GDP over $800 Billion (based on 2010) that can instill better governance for the region’s World Heritage Sites; (see Appendix ZH on Page 330). In addition to opening a new market for intra-regional tourism, the CU effort will enhance the influx of foreign tourists; promote Art/Eco/Event tourism; enhance cultural pride and anchor the expansion of an Art/Culture eco-system (covering education, media, theater, exhibitions, and events).

2 Oversight of Natural Resources

The CU will assume jurisdiction of oversight on natural resources of the common areas between the member-states. This authority will be granted with the accedence of the CU treaty and the successful petition to the United Nations for an Exclusive Economic Zone. While many of the 21 World Heritage Sites are cultural, the remaining are of natural origins, and thus proper governance is essential – the CU will collaborate and co-partner with member-states on this effort.

3 Economic Impact: Tourism

The status quo for tourism in the region peaks during the peak winter season. Those tourists come to the region for the sun, sand, and surf. On the other hand, eco-tourism around the World Heritage Sites (WHS) tends not to be climate related. Therefore traffic is more consistent year round.

4 Economic Impact: Economic Zones

The CU will strategize the designation of economic zones (Enterprise/Empowerment zone, Industrial Parks, Self-Governing Entities, etc.) near World Heritage Sites. These zones come under CU jurisdiction and allow the regional authority to dictate the nature of industrial activities in those neighborhoods.

5 Economic & Failed-State Crimes
6 Emergency Management
7 Multi-Language Access
8 Cultural/Educational Impact – Essays, Scholarships and Student Loans
9 Foundations Alignment
10 Nominate More WHS Sites

There are many other sites in the Caribbean that can easily qualify for designation of World Heritage Sites. The CU will assume the functions of publicity agents to nominate, lobby and campaign UNESCO to grant the CU more WHS sites. In the past this effort was discouraged because of the attendant costs of maintaining these sites; this dynamic now changes.

So reclaiming a scarred-and-scotched terrain to foster World Heritage Sites is consistent with the Go Lean roadmap. It’s part of the overall Turn-around strategy; to reboot, restore, recover, rebuild, revive and revitalize the OLD into something NEW. In fact, we have presented strategies, tactics and implementations in many previous Go Lean blog-commentaries. See this sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=20052 Rise from the Ashes – Natural/Man-Made Disasters: Protect Paradise
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=20013 Rise from the Ashes – Phoenix Mythology – This is Good Governance
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=18475 Refuse to Lose – Direct Foreign Investors ‘Wind-Downs’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=17358 Marshall Plan – A Lesson in History – Model for Rebooting
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14445 Repairing the Breach: Image can impact Economics and Opportunities
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10140 Detroit revitalizing City by demolishing thousands of structures
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7449 ‘Crap Happens’ – So What Now? Recovering and Revitalizing
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2857 There are Jobs and growth in the Recycling Industry – Yes, we can!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=970 The Turn-around of Detroit is a business, not charity

Accordingly, we are responsible for cleaning up any mess that we make. It is also true that we have to clean up the messes that our forefathers made. This is the actuality of shortsighted Mineral Extraction. Previous generations may have gotten some benefit, while we got none, and yet we now have to clean-up the resultant mess. Challenge accepted!

There is the familiar mantra in eco-tourism: “Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories”. This was not the default ethos in the past, resulting in today’s scarred-and-scotched terrain. That was the “lemons” that we were given. Creating tourist attractions and “cool” sites is the “lemonade” that we can now make and enjoy.

This strategy of fostering new World Heritage Sites on reclaimed mines or a re-configured mineral pits is transforming. Yes, we can! This strategy has succeeded elsewhere – think Poland – and it could happen in our regional homeland as well. Instead of just having the costs of doing business, we could have the profit from eco-tourism at our WHS locations. We only needed this role model as a guide and roadmap.

We urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this roadmap. We have looked, listened, learned, and lend-a-hand for this issue. Now we are ready to lead. Success from this roadmap is conceivable, believable and achievable. We can proceed carefully and cautiously with Mineral Extraction while we make our homeland better places to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 12):

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accidence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. …

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – In the footsteps of Goethe and Chopin – the Tourist route – https://youtu.be/YoQXxgfreH4

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Posted Nov 21, 2017 –
Kopernik, Chopin, Goethe, Bush, Baden-Powell – and many more. Wieliczka Salt Mine is a tourist attraction for at least 600 years. Brine lakes, mejestic wooden casings, chapels, monuments carved in salt. Wieliczka dazzles, suprises, falls in memory. Visiting the Tourist route is not only the beautiful views but also a solid lesson about geology, mining techniques, and history. There are also many adittional attractions like 5D cinema, restaurant, palyground and many more.

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