What happens when mining leaves?
Around the world, mining has been a basis for the development of industrial societies. Now there is something new in terms of mining – the conversion of mining valued for industrial purposes to mining valued for its heritage and tourism aspects. As the societal and communal values related to mining change, a new type of tourism related to industrial heritage has developed including the establishment of visitor attractions related to mines. These developments have produced a wide variety of visitor attractions ranging from the opportunity for tourists to visit working mines, to the creation of mining based visitor attractions of varying complexity many of which are located at or near defunct mine sites, through to the more traditional formation of community based museums that preserve and celebrate local mining heritages and extending to the bundling of mining attractions into heritage routes. The development of cultural attractions related to mines and minerals is universal, growing and important from both historical and economic perspectives, as reflected by the establishment of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network and other regional consortiums of geotourism activity such as the European Geoparks Network.