Mining regions in general are representing a type of regions which are characterised by sustainability deficits as well as competitiveness deficits at the end of the mining process in an area. Structural weakness causes migration counteracting the cohesion objective.
In most cases when mines are closed, the neighbouring cities and regions experience dramatic crises . Resources are left behind, which are referred to as „problems“ or „risks“ as for example rising minewater, artificial and hazardous landscapes, unused facilities and last but not least an unfavorable appearance. After mines are closed, affected cities and regions have to re-invent themselves. Searching a future perspective some of the mentioned resources have the potential as starting points for sustainable re-development: From minewater geothermal energy can be generated, stockpiles used for biomass production, facilities become living monuments, mining traditions can be turned into tourist attractions. However, the utilisation of these potentials is not a self-runner. Creative concepts are needed as well as the change of strategies, but also sound investigation of feasibility. Since company obligations are limited to the status ex-ante, the exploration of post-mining opportunities is a challenge to be tackled by the regions themselves.
ReSOURCE partners jointly explore such potentials. They aim to produce best-practice examples and guidelines on how to improve competitiveness and attractiveness of post-mining regions. Two key aspects that have not been addressed in a comparably pro-active way before will be focused on in ReSOURCE. Firstly the utilisation of natural and cultural post-mining resources and secondly innovation capacity building.
Exploring and developing post-mining opportunities has proved a promising approach for re-invention. It allows the regions to relate their futures to their pasts, does not overrule the mental disposition of the people. Additionally, this method automatically re-introduces the concept of sustainability by recycling left-overs from an unsustainable era. However, because of the long determination by mining, the innovation capabilities needed are under-developed. Pilot projects, some of them in Central Europe, have delivered methods to face this challenge.
Due to the fact that potentials are similar in all European countries a transnational environment provides great gains and opportunities for sharing innovative approaches.
ReSource explored Central Europe´s post-mining potentials from Jan. 2009 till Sept. 2012. All outputs are available on www.resource-ce.eu and on DVD-Rom, clustered according to four work groups: (1) Natural post-mining potentials (focus on biomass from mining land / geothermal energy from minewater); (2) Cultural post-mining potentials (focus on mining heritage utilisation strategies / public events / mining railways); (3) Integrative approaches for post-mining development (focus on masterplans, competitions). The three thematic work groups met regularly. Numerous region-specific studies, concepts, strategies were elaborated. Additional thematic meetings and events were organised for bilateral / multilateral exchange of experience and knowledge transfer, with participants coming from within and outside the partnership. All findings were summarized in thematic work group reports. Within ReSource, a pilot investment was implemented: The monument "Mine under our feet" was installed on the main public square of the city of Salgotarjan (HU). Other investments are already being carried out in the follow-up outside of the project. (4) Academic support. The scientific group summarized its findings in two core outputs: The "Post-mining knowledge database" online available as a source of inspiration for post-mining re-use options and the "Post-mining hand book" as print product. ReSource placed a strong focus on awareness-raising for post-mining potentials and challenges amongst political stakeholders on national/European levels. For that purpose, the "ReSource Resolution" was adopted jointly with key stakeholders in the field, namely respective European networks (EURACOM, ERIH, Post-mining Alliance), related European projects and members of European/national parliaments. Project internal exchange of experiences and cooperation took place in several dimensions: (1) between regional partners / within academic group, (2) academic institutions reflecting regional settings and ambitions, (3) regions providing case study material for scientific analysis. Numerous events of different types (conferences, symposia, workshops, seminars) and on different scales (regional, national, transnational) served for additional input into partnership as well as dissemination beyond the project. For the same purpose, close cooperation with a range of European networks and projects was maintained, a.o. through regular cross-presentations with the EURACOM association of coal-mining regions. Similarly, continuous exchange was organized with other CE and non-CE projects. Project promotion based on website, newsletters, posters, flyers. Project contents were constantly communicated to target groups by each partner, also via the own European network MINEC.