In May 2019, the Eden Project and Alcoa of Australia released a concept which would see the transformation of Alcoa’s former mine site in Anglesea, Victoria into a world-class eco-tourism attraction. The forecasted economic benefits of this project have now been revealed.
The Eden Project is a UK-based educational and environmental charity and social enterprise which works to encourage people around the world to live more sustainably. Its inaugural project, The Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, is a global garden featuring spectacular geodesic domes, known as Biomes, situated in a former china clay quarry. Eden has contributed £2 billion to Cornwall’s regional economy and welcomed more than 20 million visitors since it opened in 2001.
Earlier this year, the Eden Project and Alcoa of Australia released a concept which transfixed the nation. Set within the landscape of the Anglesea Heath, the proposed concept showcased a vision to change an area within the former coal mine into an eco-tourism destination for immersive education and experiences which celebrate the local ecology and tell a story of sustainability.
Eden Project Anglesea presents a unique opportunity to showcase the site’s natural values while making a significant and lasting contribution to the region for generations to come.
The project brings to life the guiding principles Alcoa developed in partnership with the Anglesea community to shape the transformation of the former mine site, which closed in 2015.
On Friday 30 August 2019, CEO of Eden’s global wing, Eden Project International Limited, David Harland, presented the economic impact projections for the proposed mine rehabilitation of the Anglesea Mine Site at the G21 Geelong Region Alliance Stakeholder Forum in Geelong. The new economic modelling indicates that the Eden Project Anglesea could generate $350 million in the Surf Coast Shire in the first 10 years of operation.
Over 500 ongoing full-time jobs would be generated (300 at the site and an additional 200 jobs supported in the wider region) – this represents almost four times the number of workers at Alcoa’s former power station and mine.
Meanwhile, direct construction investment for Eden Project Anglesea is estimated to be $150 million, with 170 direct construction jobs anticipated. An additional 700 jobs are expected to be created in the G21 region during the construction phase of the project.
Following an overwhelming response of support and enthusiasm from the Anglesea community since the concept was first presented in May, Eden and Alcoa are now looking to build further on the support of regional leaders and key government stakeholders.
Mr Harland said that Eden Project Anglesea will offer greater tourism opportunities, bring more jobs to the local economy and build on Anglesea’s history of strong environmental stewardship.
“The economic projections for the Surf Coast region are similar to what we have achieved in Cornwall through our commitment to partnerships with the local community.”
“While the economic benefits are hugely significant, our engagement with the Traditional Owners of the land, building our partnerships in biodiversity and continuing our involvement in active community engagement and consultation remain priorities at this time,” he stated.
Alcoa’s Anglesea Site Asset Manager, Warren Sharp, explained that Alcoa’s goal is to leave a legacy that benefits the Anglesea community economically, environmentally and socially.
“Eden Project Anglesea will be a key part of achieving this vision with the job projections well exceeding the permanent Alcoa positions at the former mine and power station site,” he commented.
The critical next steps for Alcoa and Eden are the resolution of the water strategy to fill the mine void and determining the relevant planning process for the next phase.
In addition to his attendance at the G21 Geelong Regional Alliance Stakeholder Forum, David Harland will be in Victoria this week to meet with other regional and state stakeholders, to continue driving momentum for Eden Project Anglesea.