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Wednesday January 30, 2008
By G. MAHINDER SINGH
AFTER years of relative obscurity, the Perak tin dredge at Tanjung Tualang will open its doors to the public from Feb 1.
Run by Osborne & Chappel, the attraction will have packages that include guided tours – a trip to a tin mining museum and movies on how the 4,500 tonne giant works – for both children and adults.
Steven Ng, a company director in charge of development and marketing, said the dredge, T.T. No. 5, has been given a RM100,000 facelift.
“During its tin-mining heyday, there were 40 dredges operating in Chemor, Ipoh, Gopeng, Batu Gajah, Papan, Tronoh and Malim Nawar,” said Ng.
T.T. No 5, one of the last great reminders of the time when the Kinta Valley was the world’s richest tin producing area, was built in 1938 by W.F. Payne & Sons for Pernas Chartered Management Sdn Bhd.
Once belonging to Southern Malayan Tin Dredging (M) Sdn Bhd, the dredge had scoured for tin ore in the Kinta Valley for 44 years.
Operations stopped in 1983 due to the collapse of the tin mining industry. Since then, it has lain in a man-made pond at Desa Perlombongan, about 10km from Batu Gajah, Perak.
“At one time, the dredge would run on electricity for 24 hours in two shifts with 20 workers per shift,” related Ng.
In 1997, Pernas Chartered Management Sdn Bhd donated the three-storey high dredge to the state, which had spent over half a million ringgit to develop it into an attraction.
Ng said among other things, the company was planning to showcase other methods of tin mining to visitors.
“With the help of the Chinese tin miners associations, non-governmental organisations and Matta Fair, we should be able to get 400,000 visitors by year end,” he added.
The first package (RM5 for adults and RM3 for children less than 60cm tall) will include a movie, visit to the dredge museum and a tour of the dredge from outside.
The second package (RM15 for adults, RM8 for children aged 12 years and above) features tours inside the dredge.
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