Sang Sang Mining Company – connection to Needle Hill Tungsten Mine, 1935?

Hugh Farmer: The article, Needle Hill Tungsten Mine, says that, “The deposit was discovered in 1935 by a civil engineer, Mr G Hull, who was working on the construction of the Jubilee Reservoir (now known as Shing Mun)…Hull obtained a mining licence in the same year but the lease was subsequently transferred to Marsman Hong Kong China Ltd.  Marsman undertook prospecting from 1935-1937, and development works began in 1938 with three adits used to extract the ore.”

Mike T: I found an article which suggests that a small quantity of wolfram ore was being sold from the mine as early as 1935. It mentions another related company, Sang Sang Mining Company and some of the manner in which ore was being sold.

HF: When researching my original article  on Needle Hill Tungsten Mine I did not come across mention of San Sang Mining Company and I cannot find Nan Chang Street, mentioned in the newpaper report, in Hong Kong.

Yet here is an apparent connection in 1935 when Marsman HK China Ltd started prospecting though apparently not extracting ore, a mention of No. 7 Mine, Needle Hill and wolfram ore…and Sang Sang. Can someone directly connect  the main mine, Marsman and Sang Sang. Or was the latter merely an agent through which ore was sold? Or…?

Here’s Mike’s article from the Hong Kong Sunday Herald for Sunday, December 8, 1935:

“Theft of Ore From Shatin Mine. Foreman ignores agreement. But admits error in court.

Yeung Ping, aged 40, described as a miner employed at No. 7 Mine, Needle Hill, Shatin appeared on remand before Mr. Wynne-Jones at Kowloon Magistracy yesterday on a charge of stealing 30 [80?] catties of wolfram ore at Nan Chang Street with intent to defraud Lai Po-Siu, cashier of the Sang Sang Mining Company.

Detective Sergeant Goodwin told the Court that the defendent was the No. 1 of five coolies employed in the mine. They work at the mine everyday and at the end of each day’s work they bring the wolfram ore to the office, where it is accumulated and sold once a month.

Continuing, Det. Sgt. Goodwin said that instructions had been given that on no account was the ore to be left in the matshed in the mine at the end of any day’s work. It was stated that as the result of an agreement signed between the defendant and the complainant, the workmen were entitled to 65 per cent. of the proceeds of any sale exceeding $50 and 50 per cent. of any sale not over that figure.

Admits mistake
The Magistrate (to defendant): When you appeared before me the other day you said you had taken the ore because you were entitled to 65 per cent. of the sales — Yes.

You base that on the agreement you signed? — Yes.

Mr. Wynne Jones then drew defendant’s attention to the clause in the agreement which clearly stated that on no account must any of the ore be removed, except from the mine to the office, and asked defendant what he had to say about it.

Defendant: I agree I had no right to remove it.

He was fined $75, in default, six weeks imprisonment.”

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Needle Hill Tungsten Mine
  2. Gordon Burnett Gifford Hull – Needle Hill Mine, Shing Mun Reservoir

One comment

  • Mike T.

    It’s possible Nan Chang Street is a typo, or the transliteration has been changed since the 1930s. (Or the road has been built over, its name changed, etc.) I took another look at the paper in question, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a typo though, as it’s a pretty clean scan.

    I checked for that street name in MMIS, and got one result relating to hawker licenses from 1982. Checking that result, it actually appears to say Nan Chong Street, but that’s still pretty close. (It’s given as the address for Tai Ming Shoes Factory, 29 Nan Chong Street 5th Floor Sham Shui Po, Kowloon Tel. 860146″. I can’t find confirmation of that address elsewhere; it appears they moved to Un Chau Street a few years later.)

    Finally, looking in Google Maps / Centamap, there’s no Nan Chong Street either, but there *is* a Nam Cheong Street in Sham Shui Po — and number 29 is a five-floor building dating to February 1961, just the kind of building I’d expect to see used as a small shoe factory, which suggests the two are quite likely one and the same.

    I checked a reclamation map, and while much a bit of Nam Cheong Street is on reclaimed land, pretty much the whole thing was already reclaimed by the 1920s — and most of it was already there prior to the reclamation anyway. The location also makes sense to me — if you’re selling ore, you probably want to do it near the harbour, where it can be put on a ship and sent somewhere for processing.

    So perhaps Nan Chang Street is now Nam Cheong Street?

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