The Jakarta Post
Located between Nibung village in South Bangka and the town of Tanjung Pandan in Belitung, Kaolin Mining Lake is a popular tourist attraction despite being said to contain radioactive metal. (Shutterstock/File)
The ongoing dispute between the government and gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia shows that mining plays an important role in the country's economy.
More often than not, mining is seen as a driver of economic development. However, when mining sites become depleted or their operation is no longer profitable, they are often simply abandoned.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya told kompas.com in 2015 that when a former mining area is converted into a tourist destination, it may continue to generate income.
Here are four mining areas in Indonesia that have redeveloped their economy through tourism.
Sawahlunto, West Sumatra
Located 90 kilometers from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, Sawahlunto was once a coal mining area. Alas, the coal ran out in 1988, leaving the city with various issues, such as a rise in poverty and crime rates.
From 2002 to 2005, 8,000 people left the city. Finally, Sawahlunto was converted into a Mining Tourism Cultural City. Buildings and mining facilities were transformed into tourist attractions, namely Museum Goedang Ransoem (Food Warehouse Museum), Museum Kereta Api (Train Museum) and Museum Lubang Tambang Mbah Suro (Mbah Suro Open-Pit Mining Museum).
In addition to museums, Sawahlunto boasts a culinary district and a village that produces tenun (traditional hand-woven textiles).
Kaolin Mining Lake, Bangka-Belitung Islands
Kaolin Mining Lake was previously a tin-mining area. However, the site was abandoned and filled up with beautiful turquoise water.
Located between Nibung village in South Bangka and the town of Tanjung Pandan in Belitung, Kaolin Mining Lake is a popular tourist attraction despite being said to contain radioactive metal.
Bangka is also home to the Indonesian Tin Museum, where visitors can learn about traditional mining methods. Established in 1958 and managed by PT Tambang Timah Persero, the museum is located in Pangkalpinang, the capital of Bangka.
Bukit Jamur, East Java
The mushroom-shaped hills of Bukit Jamur in Gresik regency, East Java, are the result of chalk mining until 1992.
Around 40 hills vary in height from 2 to 7 meters. Do note that this iconic destination of Gresik is only open on Sundays.
Taman Tebing Breksi, Yogyakarta
Situated in the Sambirejo subdistrict of Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, Taman Tebing Breksi was once a breccia rock mining quarry. In 2015, it was named a cultural heritage area, showcasing various pieces of stone-carving art.
Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the Ijo Temple and Ratu Boko Temple from the peak of Taman Tebing Breksi. (kes)