The importance of salt mines for mining towns

Piotr Langer
2013 Geology Geophysics & Environment  
Salt mining is one of the oldest industrial areas of human activity. Composure and evolution of rock salt mining methods were in the past an important factor of the development and prosperity of many European salt cities, including Wieliczka and Bochnia. Studies of Polish and foreign salt cities showed that urban space and underground mine workings can interact to varying degrees, often creating interdependent systems, both in economic and visually-compositional terms. At the same time, in the
more » ... same time, in the face of a global collapse of the salt mining industry, you can see the process of liquidation of underground salt mine, also a number of historical sites. The specificity of the salt mine also tends to post-industrial use of these facilities for new features. In this matter, the dominant course of action is to build underground tourist routes and sanatoriums, create places of a religious cult, art, entertainment, sports, science and education and other forms of public services. At the same time, salt excavations are an attractive area for the location of less accessible facilities, such as laboratories, and most of all underground deposits. An analysis of different salt mining centres leads to the conclusion that all the mentioned forms of redevelopment can be cost-effective, however, to ensure the sustainable development of the salt mining centres it is important to: fully preserve the existing values, represented by both the excavation underground spaces as well as different parts of the surface mining infrastructure, expose and provide access to protected values for the broad group of users, maintain the authentic character of mine (excavation and ground facilities) in its reconstruction and adaptation to modern needs. It seems that the inclusion of these conditions gives a real opportunity to preserve and even enhance the attractiveness of disused salt mines and use them in the current development of the salt cities. key words: unused salt mines, underground excavations, salt towns and regions, sustainable development, and cultural heritage Geology
doi:10.7494/geol.2013.39.3.189 fatcat:t6fige3wird4ta3gshkxiq2g7a