Posting by Xian Jin:
My family and I went to many interesting places during the holidays. One of them was the historical tin dredge in Malaysia. This tin dredge is in Tanjung Tualang, about 9 km away from the Kinta Nature Park in Batu Gajah. It is called TT 5. It is no longer in use since 1982, after the collapse of the tin price.
TT 5 was the last remaining of 6 tin dredges belonging to the Southern Malayan Tin Dredging Ltd. TT 5 looked like a giant metal ship. TT 5 was a 5-storey high tin dredge and has a width of 35m, length of 75m. It weighed about 4,500 tonnes. TT 5 needed 30 workers per shift, 3 shifts per day for its operation.
We were very fortunate to have Mr Steven Ng to explain to us the history of tin mining in the Kinta Valley. Mr Ng's father worked in the tin mining industry, just like my grandfather. He's responsible for managing the tin dredge now. According to Mr Ng, there were five methods of tin mining - tin dredge method was developed by the British, others were underground mining, cave mining, palong method and dulang washing. My grandfather worked in a tin mine in Chenderiang using the palong method.
Going into TT 5......... Sitting in water, it was so big that we did not know where to start with. We were so conscious about falling into the pond that we didn't realise we were already inside TT 5. We were told that the water was 30m deep!!!
Giant buckets digging into the soil all the way up and into the revolving screen for shaking so that the minerals will be loosened from the soil.
Kinta Valley was very rich in tin deposit. During the mining, many other kinds of minerals, including tin would be extracted. The separators above were used to separate the soil and minerals - minerals were heavier and would stay on the separators.
There was a big garden outside the museum. Mr Ng grew many vegetables and fruits in the garden. Now guess who were sharing the ex-mining pools with the dredge? "DUCK FARMS" It was certainly a very 'quackingful' and memorable visit!
Before we came to TT 5, we visited the Ngah Ibrahim's Fort. It's a good place to learn about the early days of tin mining in the area, now known as Matang Historical Museum. A very historical piece of property built in the mid 19th century, situated in Bukit Gantang, Perak, about 30 minutes' drive from Taiping town.