THE country’s last tin dredge – the Tanjung Tualang Dredge No.5 (TT5) – will only be opened to the public in the last quarter of the year despite being listed as one of the 10 icons of Visit Perak Year 2017.
Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) chief executive officer Datuk Aminudin Hashim said restoration works, which commenced last May, were only completed up to 80% currently.
Initially planned for completion last quarter, he said restoration efforts would only be completed in July.
“After that, we will have to obtain the necessary safety certifications.
“This process should take another few months and hopefully, the dredge will be available for public viewing by the last quarter of this year,” he said during a visit to the site where the dredge is located in the Batu Gajah district.
Aminudin said rather than rush efforts to rehabilitate and revive the 79-year-old historical structure, MB Inc wanted to make sure things were done properly.
“We also sought the expertise and opinion of numerous quarters while taking into consideration the issue of cost before embarking on work to save the dredge,” he said, explaining the cause of the delay.
He added that MB Inc managed to bring down the cost of its restoration from the initial RM12mil to just RM4mil.
Weighing 4,500 tonnes, TT5 was built in England in 1938 and was eventually rebuilt in 1963.
Previously owned by the Malaysia Mining Corporation Bhd, it was retired in 1982 because of tin export controls and donated to the Perak government in 2014 before being entrusted to MB Inc the following year.
But rather than just restore the tin dredge, MB Inc planned to convert the area surrounding it into a world-class tourist attraction.
Calling the dredge an engineering masterpiece, Aminudin said it would be central to the planned 24.28ha tourist attraction costing RM30mil.
There will be guided tours around the dredge as well as a gallery and museum on tin dredging with other proponents such as cafes, gift shops, a resort, camping site and a venue for special functions such as weddings.
Traders from surrounding villages will also be invited to market their products such as dodol, keris, handicrafts and model sailboats at the site, which is located just 8km from Kellie’s Castle and 25km from Gua Tempurung.
The project will eventually be a part of a larger development and housing project covering 242.8ha by MB Inc.