The mining park's new visitor centre, the only one in Europe dedicated to the oil shale industry and based in the former mining and sorting premises of Kohtla mine, opened on April. The centre has different interactive displays that introduce the field of energetic and geology to children and adults alike.
The Kohta mine closed in April 2001. Its underground tunnels were reopened as a tourist attraction eight months later.
"The underground museum has since been an important tourist attraction in Ida-Viru County and the entire country," said Hardi Murula, Chairman of the Museum Board. "The new visitor centre offers additional value to the deepest experience in Estonia and makes the mining park even more attractive to families."
"The people of Ida-Viru have turned their industrial heritage into a regional strength," added Hanno Sutter, CEO of Eesti Energia. "Giving a new lease of life to the enrichment factory is a fine example of the heritage of the oil shale industry, the revival of which has generated new value for the region."
The mining park uses interactive displays, games and first-hand experience to introduce to visitors the natural resources of Estonia - overground display includes about 30 metric tons of different rocks, the daily work environment of miners, and the past, present and future mining technologies. Sutter hopes that interesting exhibits also help to attract young people to physical sciences and encourage a generation of future engineers.
The new visitor centre cost over 3 million euros to complete. Most of the funds came from Enterprise Estonia's culture and tourist attractions development measure, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.