As a child of Kinta Valley, I have always been fascinated with mining operations. I love visiting tin mines here in Perak and was delighted when I had the opportunity to visit the former iron ore mine at Bukit Besi in Dungun, Terengganu.
I do not know how accurate this information is but it is believed that the mine, the largest then in Southeast Asia, was discovered around 1916 but mining only began in 1927 by the Japanese. The iron ore was exported to Japan to be made into weapons and armaments.
The iron ore mine was closed following World War II around 1941. The operations of the mine were then taken over by the British sometime in 1945. Apparently, the mineral was also exported to Japan.
This mine was closed for good in 1971 when the mining company (EMMCO) found a better mining concession in Australia. From what I was told, the taxes imposed on them here were just too high.
While at Bukit Besi Iron Ore Mine, what should you look out for?
The first thing that greets you upon entering the mine area would be a tall chimney. That should be your landmark indicating that you have arrived at Bukit Besi Iron Ore Mine. Too bad I do not have a photo of it.
After checking out the History Gallery, you should drop by the ruins of the mine manager’s house. It makes a great backdrop for photographs.
Next up would be the crushing plant. Go in a group as it had been abandoned and therefore, quite scary. Nearby is the tunnel where ore was conveyed by wagons out of the hill.
Within walking distance from this spot is the stockpile area.
Apart from these, there are more structures which were used in the process of mining iron ore. I feel that having a good guide to explain the history of the mine makes a world of difference to your visit.
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