Old mines are another area recognized as having tremendous potential for industrial tourism. Mining tourism is a growing, albeit specialized, sector of the tourism industry but it is also often overlooked by that same industry.
Obuasi has a long history with mining. Large scale commercial and industrial mining began at Obuasi in 1897 with the formation of Ashanti Goldfields Corporation. The Obuasi Mine is now operated by AngloGold Ashanti.
The Chief Executive for Obuasi, Hon. Elijah Adansi-Bonah has hinted that the Obuasi Municipal Assembly is relishing the prospects of mine tourism to boost its revenue base.
Speaking to the media after receiving some delegates from Essen in the North Rhine Westphalia Region of the federal republic of Germany, the Obuasi MCE said mining tourism can provide a plethora of benefits to the Municipality, including job creation and environmental conservation.
“After touring Essen in 2022, we realized that the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex which was awarded the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, is one of the most impressive industrial monuments on the planet. Since the final working shift in 1986, Zollverein has been transformed into a prime site for the art, culture and creative sectors, attracting more than two million visitors a year”, Hon Adansi-Bonah added.
He was optimistic that with the rich history of Obuasi regarding the mining sector, the Assembly just was done in Essen, can leverage on the sector to turn old mine sites into tourism sites to generate revenue for the Assembly.
North Rhine-Westphalia and Ghana have been working together closely for more than 20 years. In 2007 this engagement was raised to an official level through a partnership agreement between the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
In a renewal of the agreement dated 2016 the governments decided to align the cooperation for the next five years with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2017 the partnership was extended to include local governance exchange between ministries in NRW and Ghana.
On the key lessons learnt from the partnership, Hon Elijah Adansi-Bonah said the Assembly having picked lessons from the City of Essen, has rolled out the ‘ Obuasi Green city agenda’; a bold and aggressive policy targeted at converting all gray areas in the Municipality to Greenery environment to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The leader of the delegation from Essen Nil Ole Haar who heads the office of the European/international affairs and sustainable development of the city of Essen said the partnership between the city of Essen and Obuasi is underlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which both cities are pursuing and trying to find common grounds to work together.
“The two cities are involved in city planning, exchanging ideas and developing projects which both cities can benefit from”.
He mentioned that Obuasi and Essen share common problems hence was hopeful that partnership and collaboration will enable them draw up solutions to them.
The Kunkahene, Abusuapanin Kwaku Ponko III who expressed his excitement over the sister city relation between Obuasi and the city of Essen implored the leadership of Obuasi to learn lessons from the city of Essen by fashioning out how to sustain the economy of Obuasi beyond the Mine.
Again, the Kunkahene appealed to the Assembly to work closely with the German partners to take advantage of the arable lands in Obuasi which can be used for the production of cassava, starch, ginger, coconuts, etc.
“Please impress upon our guests to carry our message to the potential investors in Germany. My doors are always opened for partnership in any areas that will create job opportunities for the youth in Obuasi”.