L R Nielson (1902-?) – connection to Lin Ma Hang Mine – further information needed

York Lo is researching L. R. Nielson of HK Mines which ran the Lin Ma Hang mine before WWII. York noticed in the Indhhk article about the mine, see below,  that he re-visited the mines in the mid 1950s though there is conflicting information on the Web that he died or went missing during the War. York says he has found one article about a HK Mines board meeting in the late 1940s which mentioned he was indeed missing for a while but resurfaced from South America and was reinstated as board member.

Any information you can share about Nielson (especially during and after the War) would be much appreciated. Please email Hugh Farmer – indhhk at gmail dot com

HF: Our article, Lin Ma Hang Mine, contains these paragraphs:

After the war the mine continued to be looted and it remained effectively abandoned until 1st October 1951 when the Colonial Secretary  approved its re-opening. From 1951 until 1954 various contractors were employed after the company decided not to undertake its own operations. Output did not exceed 750 tons per annum.  From 1st November 1951 to 30th April 1952 the mine was operated under contract by Tonley & Co. In February 1953 a new contractor Foo Yuen & Co signed an agreement.  Eleven men worked underground and the same number above. The mining method was entirely manual.  L R Nielson visited the mine in December 1953 and was displeased with the bad mining practices he found, “showering the men with cursings and swearings.”

According to Gwulo, Nielson was born in 1902.

wikipedia has this, which as they say “needs verifying”: Laurie Reuben Nielson was one of the many foreigners attracted by the business opportunities in the Philippines and moved to the country before World War Two. Born in New Zealand, Nielson and his American wife, Annette, arrived in Manila in the early-to-mid-1930s. He established himself in local business, setting up his own firm, L R Nielson & Co, and making inroads in the securities and stock brokerage business, importing, and mining. Nielson also sat on the board of HSBCbranch in Manila.

Nielson was an avid aviation enthusiast; with this, he became involved in a project to build an aviation school and airport in Manila. It was an ideal time for pursuing the project because there was a real need for an airport to support the increased economic activity in the country, especially in the mining industry, at the same time, the  Quezon government was encouraging infrastructure projects. Nielson convinced several other Manila-based foreign investors to join him in the project and construction of the airport proceeded after the group leased 42 hectares of land in Makati from Ayla y Cia. When it was inaugurated in July 1937, the Nielson Airport was being touted as the biggest and best-equipped in Asia.

After the outbreak of the war and the invasion of Manila by Japanese forces in 1942, Nielson and his family were detained by the Japanese authorities. Nielson’s wife and two sons were brought to the internment camp at the University of Santo Tomas. Nielson, because he was British was taken for internment in Hong Kong.

Nielson was never seen or heard from again. By the time the Philippines was liberated from the Japanese, Nielson’s businesses and most of his properties were all gone. After his wife and two sons left the Philippines and returned to the U.S. for good, Nielson’s only remaining legacy to the Philippines was the airport he had built.

See: Gwulo – brief information about L R Nielson

This article was first posted on 3rd April 2015.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Lin Ma Hang Mine Part 1 – The Early Years
  2. Lin Ma Hang Mine Part 2 – The Yung Years
  3. Lin Ma Hang Part 3 – Exploitation
  4. Lin Ma Hang Mine – photograph of the mine buildings around WW2 + Japanese engineers inspecting
  5. Lin Ma Hang Lead Mine – WW2 reports/letters added


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