Two HK Mines
Despite its small area, Hong Kong has a relatively large number of minerals. A large number of these have been prospected, a lovely term conjuring up images of the Klondike gold rush, and I estimate about 25 actually commercially exploited. I have recently posted on Gwulo.com a brief history of two of these mines neither of which, should you be in the mood, can you visit as I explain on the site (tap in mines in search). I summarize even further my reports below.
The West Brother Island (Tai Mo To) Graphite Mine)
West Brother Island lies to the north east of HK International Airport. I have read an account that the graphite was discovered in the early 1950s by fishermen who were looking for sandstone to make grinding stones. Instead they came across a black mineral which they mistook for coal. Another source says there was intensified geological interest around this time so maybe the two accounts are linked. The mine operated from 1952 to 1971.
A Geological Society of Hong Kong reports a field trip to the island in October 1992 where remains of the mine jetty and old spoil heaps were found though the mine was “largely overgrown”.
The island was leveled in the mid-1990s during construction of the airport resulting in destruction of all the mine buildings and the spoil heaps.
The Lin Ma Hang Lead Mine
Lin Ma Hang lies within the Frontier Closed Area west of Shau Tau Kok and is therefore inaccessible to non-permit holders. (This may change as the border area opens up to development.) It is apparently possible to go a short distance into the underground workings where a cavern can be seen and possibly into a lower gallery. There are also the remains of the processing plant and spoil heaps.
The mine operated from 1917 to 1958 but intermittently especially during and after World War 2.
The mine now holds one of the most important bat colonies in Hong Kong and was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 13 August 1994.
This article was first published in the Indhhk email Newsletter 3 sent out on 11th January 2013.