Many of the proposals presented to reverse the decline of old mining and industrial areas in the developed countries affected by processes of socioeconomic restructuring emphasize cultural and environmental dimensions as a key component of future development strategies of these areas. This trend may be placed in the context of transitions towards a 'post-industrial' society in which some components of the natural environment may no longer be considered as physical inputs to the production process but rather as resources to be experienced in aesthetic or recreational terms. The article takes the example of Cardona (Catalonia, Spain) to explore the transition outlined above. The town was a leading centre in the production of potassic salt in Spain. In 1990, however, the mine was closed, and labour relocated to other extractive centres in the region or laid off. The main strategy selected for the recovery of Cardona, the so-called 'Salt Mountain' project, attempts to take advantage of salt-related resources to promote leisure and tourism activities. © 1995.