From trash to trophy: Rehabilitation of mined land proves profitable

Botswana is a natural resource rich country; it is blessed with diamonds. Though they say diamonds are forever, the nation knows that this is just an illusion, one day they will be gone. As the country looks into other economic avenues, maybe China is not such a bad idea to borrow ideas on the re-use of mined land from.

China seems to have found a winning formula when it comes to staying ahead in innovative ways to push its economic status even further. The country’s latest move is the rehabilitation of used land after mining for lucrative tourism businesses.

The country has moved into mine reclamation*, the purpose being to make the areas as tourism attraction hot spots and the formula seems to be working. A typical example is the Pan’an Lake Wetlands Park, consisting of an entirely man-made lake where it used to be a coal mine.

Pan’an Lake Wetland Park in China’s National Historic Cultural City Xuzhou situated in the Northwest of Jiangsu Province is one of the testaments to the country’s land reclamation.

The visit to the park provides a scenic view so breathtaking that it is hard to believe it used to be a mining area. The floral vegetation and aquatic plants are a true reflection that indeed it is a tourism attraction. This makes the view from their boat riding activity heavenly.

According to the officials, the park was a milestone project that integrated basic farmland reconstruction, land reclamation of coal mining subsidence, ecological environment restoration and wetland landscape development.

Wang Lianyum, Director of the Xuzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs Office had this to say about the park: “The Park looks good but it is still a work in progress because we are aiming for total greenery with purified water from our man-made lake. It is a bit costly but we are looking at the bigger picture because on one hand we are moving to rehabilitate the used land back to its natural state and we are also looking at providing more employment for the people of this country. This is one of the government’s projects to move the tourism sector as one of the driving forces of the economy”.

The park, which is divided into ecological leisure area, wetland scenic spot, folk culture, ecological conservation area and hotel, is viewed by the Chinese people as an excellent example of restoration and construction of ecological environment of resource exhausted city.  It is also considered as an immense power of absorption and there is hope that it will become the most beautiful countryside wetland with pastoral distinctiveness in the province and the country.

While it is not a secret that Botswana is one of the largest producers of diamonds in the world which contributes roughly 40% of the country’s revenue, the industry is close to its extinction.

The question that the nation should be pondering on now is that what will become of the land mined once the diamonds or any other natural resources are gone? Does the country have plan B that will ensure that the land goes back to its natural state or at least becomes ecologically usable?

The Chinese nation is a true example that long-term planning is crucial and though living up to them maybe a challenge in terms of resources and financial support, planning ahead may be helpful.

Mine reclamation, as the Chinese declare, takes a while and a lot of financial backing but the rewards are a long-term benefit for the country and the nation. The rehabilitation of used land and mine reclamation into lucrative tourists’ hot spots is proving to be a blessing for the over one billion Chinese nation.

*Mine reclamation is the process of restoring land that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state

Editorial Team

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