Mining, quarrying and tourism development

Publicerad: 11 januari 2016

Coordinator: Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (ITRC)
NordGem AB
Aalborg University
Iceland GeoSurvey (ÍSOR)
Innovation Center Iceland
Kristallen I Lannavaara AB


In addition to soliciting new partners and solidifying a partner consortium, the preparatory project will outline  the key focus of the project  application for the  NPA priority  axis and develop its content. The focus will be developed through three interrelated and tentative themes that add on to each other:

1.   Socio-economic benefits of mining operations in small communities

To begin with it is important to understand the general context of former and existing mining and quarrying  operations  in  the  Arctic.  How are inhabitants of  small, often  peripheral communities, in the Arctic to gain from current  or former major mining and/or  quarrying operations? The development in implementation of impact benefit  agreements (IBAs) are part of the project as these open scope for locals to develop souvenirs and jewellery from the mined materials is the focus of this theme. The IBA is to include skills and knowledge transfer from the mining firm to the local community to ensure continuation of production by locals from  the minerals and materials being mined. The tourism potential  of these mines and quarry sites is often great and examples in the arctic exist where abandoned mines have becomes major attractions  (e.g. Helgustaoanama, E. Iceland and lvittuut, S. Greenland). A question  to  the  developed  in  understanding  the  socio-economic  benefits  of  mining operations  is how these sites can become tourist  attractions  and thus underpin  tourism development  in peripheral  regions and thus contribute  to the region's  overall economic diversification  and  sustenance.  This has been  explored  in  the  European  context (see:­ situation).


2.   The uses of surface and quarry material for tourism marketing and promotion Secondly and related to existing and former mining and quarrying operations, the potential for new uses of areas hitherto untouched by these needs to be explored. In large parts of the Arctic no mining operations exists, but materials abound on or near the surface in terrains ranging from sea/lakeside to mountains. Exposed lava, ash, secondary minerals, worn rocks and the like are all used for making souvenirs that promote the uniqueness of a region or a country and sold to tourists. The focus here would be on the best practices in the field and how to create viable business models for tourism entrepreneurs and "rock hunters" but also create scope for value to be added to the produce through rock crafts training.

3.   Landmarks and monuments from quarried materials and natural sites

In a similar way as smaller surface material are used for souvenirs and jewellery, larger surface material can be used to  promote destinations  and function  as landmarks, be they from quarried material or in their original natural states. Undoubtedly the most famous of man­ made landmarks from quarried material is Stonehenge, but in N. Iceland the Arctic henge uses locally quarried rock to put the village of Raufarhofn on the tourist's map. What ideas exist around the Arctic for such landmark development and what role do they play in tourism marketing and promotion at a destination level and at country level is to be focused on. The flag and icon of Nunavut,Canada demonstrates the wider significance of rock and quarried material in the identity  of a region and a local community.

The theoretical backbone  for  these three explorations  would  be in geology, geography, tourism business and marketing literature, the Arctic human development report, political ecology of the arctic and new materialism and geo-philosophy.