Tag Archives: tin dredge

A Potential Reality

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Heritage Tourism

By James Gough

Hamidah, Roshidi & Jek discussing plans for Panglima Lane

If all goes well, Ipoh could be the centre of a World Heritage Site for Tin Mining. This was revealed by Senior Executive Councillor for Tourism Dato’ Hamidah Osman during a familiarisation tour at Old Town’s ‘Concubine Lane’ recently.

Accompanying her on the tour was Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim and the Chairman of Kinta Heritage Jek Yap.

Hamidah reiterated that tourism was an important economic sector for the state which had an abundance of products. Perak Tourism had already identified 10 icons for the state and was now clustering the icons, linking Belum and the Perak Man at Lenggong and Taiping with the Matang Mangrove Forest.

The plan for Ipoh is to promote it as a World Heritage Site for Tin Mining. The centre would be Ipoh but generally “the heritage site would be the whole Kinta Valley stretching from Ipoh to possibly Kampar” explaining that “the towns of Papan and Kampar generated the income but the residents came to Ipoh for a social life”.

The new tagline for Tourism in Perak will be ‘Nature and History’. “For Ipoh we already have the Nature in the products of Gua Tempurung and Gopeng. Now when we promote heritage we need to have the history behind the products whether they are buildings or even Concubine Lane to elaborate to the tourists, for them to understand and appreciate the heritage product”.  This is where NGO’s such as Kinta Heritage could assist, she added.

The tour only covered Concubine Lane (officially known as Panglima Lane) and Treacher Street, a distance of 200 metres but lasted for almost 2 hours. During that time she met residents along the lane, checked out the houses and was given a tour of the 100-year-old Chinese Miners Club, Han Chin Pet Soo where she even took a photograph on the back balcony upstairs overlooking the Kinta River.

Dato’ Hamidah, who admitted that she was a distant relative of the Panglima Kinta, the original owner of all the land on which is now Ipoh, said the mere mention of a name should “start a historical narrative of the person behind the name”.

Hamidah also hinted that the heritage product would not be confined to Old Town but would eventually include New Town.

Hopefully when the whole plan materialises, tourism in Ipoh and the Kinta Valley will truly be an important sector which will contribute significantly towards the economy of the state.

Ms Lee with the A Cert for cleanliness

Dato’ Hamidah – Tour Trivia

1. Chinese Desserts

Dato’ Hamidah suggested that the Chinese Deserts such as Leong Fun and Mo-Mo Cha-Cha should be promoted as these are delicious local desserts. She made the statement when taking refreshments at All-In Café located at the junction of Leech Street and Panglima Lane after her familiarisation tour.

All-In Café is a kopitiam-styled coffee shop serving regular noodles with liew and desserts. Its manager Ms Lee Siew Mee recently received their A grade certificate for cleanliness from MBI.

2. Tin Dredge

Dato Hamidah has reconfirmed that the project to preserve the last remaining Tin Dredge in the country is “still on. Until today I have not received the report from the consultant. Based on the cost we will then decide whether to relocate or otherwise”.

Is Relocating Of Dredge A Good Idea?

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Thinking Aloud

By Jerry Francis

Current location perfect

It is easier said than done. I am referring to the suggestion by certain quarters to relocate the giant tin dredge to an ideal site and preserve it as a heritage of the tin mining industry of the Kinta Valley. First of all, what is wrong with the present location, is it not ideally located along the Batu Gajah-Tanjung Tualang Road and with some basic infrastructure already constructed by the Kinta District Council? It is also easily accessible from the main road (about 200 metres off) and there are parking bays, ticket booth, office building and concrete path around the dredge. All these had cost the district council RM600,000.

The Queen Mary Success Story

When it was decided to retire the famous luxury ocean liner Queen Mary and turn it into a hotel and museum at a far away location, it was not much of a problem. All they needed to do was to ensure that the ship could safely make its last voyage to the final destination. It was what Queen Mary did in 1967 and it has since been permanently moored in the Long Beach Harbour in California after completing 1,001 voyages across the Atlantic Ocean 30 years after it was built in Scotland. And it has been a most successful tourist endeavour.

Famous luxury ocean liner Queen Mary permanently moored in Long Beach Harbour, California

High expenditure and time for relocation

But, how do we relocate the tin dredge, although compared to the Queen Mary it is just a dwarf? Of course as some people will argue, the 5,000 ton- floating vessel can be transported. But certainly not lock, stock and barrel by road. It will have to be dismantled and taken piece by piece to the new location.

According to mining experts the whole process of dismantling will take about one year (estimated time taken when the dredge was well maintained and operational). Now, after having being neglected and all the nuts and bolts rusty, it will probably take a longer time. Having transported the various sections to the new location, it needs to be reassembled and repaired and rendered ship shape.  This will probably take another year.

The total expenditure for the relocation alone will no doubt be enormous. And the time taken to dismantle for transportation and reassembly at the new location, will surely fizzle out any remaining enthusiasm left of those undertaking the project.

Leave dredge where it is

Therefore, is it not better to leave the dredge where it is? Use whatever funds available for relocating the dredge for repair and make it safe for visitors.

There is ample land available at the present site. Induce development or turn the area into a park and call it “Kinta Tin Mining Village” or by any other names associated with tin mining. Perhaps even hire guides dressed as ‘dulang’ washers to show people around. Something catchy to draw tourists and as well as reflect how important the tin mining industry had been to Perak where not only Ipoh was built on tin, also other towns such as Gopeng,  Kampar, Chemor, Tanjung Tualang and Papan. The proposed “Kinta Tin Mining Village” can be a new tourists’ spot in the state, where the dredge is the main attraction. It needs to be managed and be promoted by a non-profit-making heritage foundation with annual grants from the federal or state government. It must not charge high fees for entrance.

Unique Tourism Project

As I see it, this unique tourism project can be a success if properly planned and managed. It could gradually generate tourism activities around it.

Most tourist spots can turn out to be disappointing, but here, we can display a heritage that had meant a lot to the economic development of the country, as well as an opportunity to marvel at a giant mining contraption. The 60-year-old dredge had been one of 39 that were like some prehistoric creature grazing on the plain of the richest tin-bearing valley when mining was at its peak.

Way back in 1997, I initiated the call for the preservation of one of the two remaining dredges in the area, which were to be dismantled and sold as scrap iron, as a monument of the tin mining industry in the country, through my weekly column “Ipoh Outlook” in the New Straits Times.

The suggestion was well received by the Perak Government and those in the tourism industry, and subsequently the dredge was acquired from the Malaysian Mining Corporation (MMC), one of the country’s largest producers of tin. Thus, it had survived more than two decades after the collapse of the tin mining industry in the country.

My view is to leave the last dredge “TT5” on its last location where it had been operating, and generate tourism activities around it.