[PHOTOS] From mine to tourist attraction: 6 innovative reclamation projects
Mining reclamation projects generally receive little to no attention from media outlets. Ask any responsible miner and they’ll tell you that’s a good thing.
That’s become the goal of mine reclamation is to go unnoticed, restoring the land into as good or in better shape than before. And while a company’s approach to reclamation is generally based off community input, a new and innovative trend is beginning to gain steam.
Take a look at the top projects across the globe breathing new life into former mines while creating exciting tourist attractions in the process.
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The Eden Project
Situated in Cornwall, England, the Eden Project is one of the largest indoor rainforests in the world. The project is comprised of a series of interconnected enclosures that replicate different global environments. First opened to the public in 2001, the former mine welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
First opened in 1992, the Salina Turda salt mines inTransylvania, Romania was one of the first unused mines to be converted into a tourist attraction. The site, which descends almost 400 feet into the Earth, have come a wonderland for visitors across the world.
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At 140 feet down, the mine includes a 180-seat amphitheater and carousel. At 370 feet down, the mine provides access to a small lake where boats can be rented. A large rotating wheel allows visitors to see the stalagmites throughout the cave.
If exploring an abandoned underground mine wasn’t enough, the people from Louisville Mega Cavern have created the ultimate indoor bike park. The reclaimed site is located 100 feet underground and encompasses over 320,000 square feet, including more than 45 trails for BMX, cross country and single track.
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Go Below® Ultimate Xtreme™
If you’re looking for the ultimate thrill ride, Go Below® Ultimate Xtreme™ is surely for you. Formerly known as Zip Below Xtreme, this abandoned slate mine is located 1,230 feet beneath the Wales’ Snowdonia National Park and features an underground obstacle course. From zip-lining through caverns to boating across a lake, Go Below is the ultimate underground adventure.'
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Located in Krakow, Poland, the former Wieliczka Salt Mine draws millions of visitors every year. Built in the 13th century, it was one of the world’s oldest operating mines until its closure in 2007. Now, the underground salt mine is a dreamland cathedral for visitors.
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Located in a 175-year old underground slate mine, Bounce Below is a subterranean playground featuring “the world’s largest underground trampoline.” Opened in 2014, the site consists of three separate “bouncy nets” spread across a distance of 180 feet from top to bottom.
Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity
Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.
Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).
It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.
Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.
Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.
Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.
Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.
Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”
Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market. The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”
Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”
Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.