Quarry garden sculpture at Pedreres de s'Hostal as an example of the after-use of mineral workings

Quarries are famed for their propensity to create ‘a scar on the landscape’. But they can also produce wonderful results, as land sculpture on a supra-human scale and majesty. This has led me to conclude that the Permission for new quarrying projects should only be given when a restoration and after-use plan has been prepared and agreed with the planning authorities. BUT there is also a possibility of making something good, and something which is a work of art, when the after-use of the mineral working was not planned in advance. The Pedreres de s’Hostal quarry is a good example of this.
The Pedreres de s’Hostal stone quarry on the island of Minorca, Spain became disused in 1994. It was then taken over by a non-for-profit organization (Líthica) and is being made into a post-industrial heritage park

Image courtesy Carlos Pons

7 thoughts on “Quarry garden sculpture at Pedreres de s'Hostal as an example of the after-use of mineral workings

  1. Tom Turner Post author

    It is often the case that long-life quarries (eg for stone) are started by one generation and worked out one or more generations later. This makes planning difficult: we can’t constrain future generations and nor do we know what they are going to want. But this should not blind us to the fact that mineral workings are among the largest physical undertakings by humans and that they could be planned to achieve much more than a supply of minerals. They are land design on the largest scale.

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  2. Benz

    Love the quarry – don’t like the sculpture. Regarding awarding planning permission only with plans for restoration and after use has its bad side as well as many of the rstoration projects result in restored rolling countryside whereas the quarry itself is usually intrinsically much more interesting visually, in terms of habitat and potential use.

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  3. Tom Turner Post author

    I agree that ‘restoring’ land to agriculture is often a bad idea. Another significant point is that distinctions need to be made between short-life, medium-life and long-life quarries. If the mineral operation is going to be completed in the foreseeable future then an after-use plan should be agreed at the outset. If the quarrying will go on generation after generation then this is difficult. But it is always the case that the money to pay for ‘healing the wound’ should come from the quarry operations. It should not be a charge on the general public.

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  4. Christos Augustus

    To say the least, quarries that are about to be decommissioned present many challenges to a local community. I agree with Tom that an after-use plan should be set in place by the owners of the quarry and its surrounding community. The ‘land sculpture’ idea is a imaginative solution for such cases. Think of the possibilities! I am certainly not discounting more useful land management ideas but land sculpture on grand scale should definitely be a consideration.

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  5. Tom Turner Post author

    The solution could be to agree an after-use plan at the outset and then allow for it to be changed, as city plans are always changed, during the lifetime of the mineral workings.

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  6. Christos Augustus

    Agreed, plus there is a factor of time between the time of after-plan inception and when the mineral works actually is closed.

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