Saoner, Maharashtra 441107.
Only after appointment.
All year daily 9.
Adults INR 650.
|Light:||helmet with headlamp provided|
|Guided tours:||D=8.5 h, MinAge=18.|
Manager Office Saoner Mine No 1, Saoner, Maharashtra 441107, India, Tel: +91-, Fax: +91-,.
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Mafatlal House, 1st Floor, H.T.Parekh Marg, 169, Backbay Reclamation, Next to ICICI Bank, Churchgate, Mumbai – 400 020, Tel: +91-22-41580902. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|26-NOV-2015||Eco-Park inaugurated by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari.|
|2016||underground coal mine tours started.|
The Western Coalfields Coal Mine, actually the Saoner Mine No 1, is a working coal mine operated by Western Coalfield Ltd. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) runs eco-mine tours into the mine. Tourists enter the mine on a unique man-rider system or cable car for the first 200 m. Then a 1 km underground tour on foot follows. The participants are equipped with helmet, headlamp, and special reflecting security vests. It's possible to see a conveyor belt where the coal is transported to trucks, which bring it to a power plant nearby.
It seems the tours are offered on a daily basis by the nearby Mahatma Gandhi Eco-Park. As a result they are called Eco-Mine Tour, which is definitely weird as coal mining has nothing to do with eco, however you interpret this word. We can only guess its derived from the French term Écomusée, which also has nothing to do with eco. It is a great example, how its possible to feed the people shit, and they even thank you enthusiastically for it. Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) is this way dispelling notions of pollution and environmental degradation related to Coal Mining Operations in India. And this explanation is not our idea, we cited this from their own homepage.
WCL conducts tours of two operational coal mines, Saoner Underground Mine and Gondegaon Opencast Mine. There are three more underground coal mine in the area, which are not open to the public. The Eco-Park offers several scientific models and a battery-operated toy train made by company’s workmen using mine scrap material. There is also an artificial mine tunnel and machines such as Load-Haul-Dump (LHD), Side Discharge Loader (SDL) and Universal Drill Machine (UDM). This mining museum is called the Eco Mine Museum, and has an exhibit about coal formation, coal reserves, coal mining technologies and other information related to the industry. It also has a gallery and movie theatre.
While India did not have a single show mine until this tour was set up in 2016, it seems the concept is quite successful now. Recently the Coal Ministry set up eight eco-parks in 2020 to promote mine tourism, and two more are to come until 2022, and 30 more in 2023. As far as we understand, they do not offer underground tours though, actually they are self-sufficient, producing their own water and energy, and are located in abandoned open cast mines. So they are actually not show mines but recultivation projects. It seems they still have not understood the term show mine.