_coal to ecotourism

You may have read about The Eden Project in the UK.  It has involved the transformation of a disused quarry in Cornwall into a space of giant plastic domes that house tropical rainforests.  It has been an ecotourism success since it was built in 2001, attracting over 20 million visitors.

The Eden Project and Alcoa have announced a plan to turn a portion of the closed coal mine at Anglesea (where coal was mined  until recently to supply the abutting power station, which provided electricity to the Alcoa Point Henry smelter in Geelong), into a $150m ecotourism attraction.

The preliminary plans show transforming the open-cut coalmine into a lake as the centrepiece of a series of gardens connected by pathways.  Other recreation and tourism facilities have also been proposed.

Aloca closed the site in 2015 after 46 years of operation and since that time there have been a number of proposals for part of the site, with a significant portion of the license surrendered for the return of the land into the surrounding conservation reserve.

The latest concept will be presented to Anglesea residents over the next month.

It will be very interesting to see what residents make of these new plans.  As Australia faces more coal mine closures into the future, could this be a good economic alternative?  Revitalising these disused areas in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way but with a business model that also provides employment for local communities and broader attractions, is worthy of consideration.

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