Tymon Mellor: It has never been clear why if there was a lead mine at Lead Mine pass, no one has developed the site when exploration has been undertaken all over the territory. There are references to the mine location on the contemporary maps and within Government reports following the take over of the New Territories in 1898. But no further details.
In a confidential Government report of 1905 regarding the alignment of the proposed KCRC railway, Enclosure B identifies trade and industries in the New Territories and notes; “Silver and lead exist, and there have been mines, above Fo Tan in Tide Cove, and at the Un-iu Gap at Tai Po [Lead Mine Pass]. The last were shut down about twenty five years ago [around 1880], not because they were not paying, but owing to about 48 men being killed by the roof falling in.”
If this was the case, people are unlikely to re-open the mine and risk disturbing the spirits. Over time the ground would collapse and stabilise leaving the slump features evident in the 1963 orthophoto.
The report also hints at other finds, “There is a persistent report that gold exists in the hills on the east of the road from Tai Po to Fan Ling about where the Lung Yeuk Tau Road branches off.” This would be the modern Shau Tau Kok road and the area of the proposed North Fanling development.
HF: “Lead from galena was once mined at Lead Mine Pass and was used for debasing coins. Unfortunately, the deposits were of poor quality, and the mine ceased operating in 1898.”
B. Owen + R. Shaw Hong Kong Landscapes: Shaping the Barren Rock HKUP, 2007 p101