Bukit Ibam Mine in History
The Straits Times edition Fiday 8th November 1958 reported from Kuala Lumpur that a $50 million iron mining project is to be developed in thick mineral-bearing jungle in south Pahang.
It should begin to produce ore by 1964 and will have sufficient equipment to enable two million tons to be exported every year if there is a demand.
The mine will be on a hill, Bukit Ibam (heights 770 ft.), which lies 110 miles up the winding, twisting Rompin River and then nine miles deep in jungle to the north.
A major part of the project will be to slash this journey down to 48 miles by a railway line from Bukit Ibam, through jungle, swamp and finally plain, to a new “port” with a long loading jetty, at Menchali, a few miles north of the mouth of the Rompin River.
Results of intensive geological investigations so far show that 17 million tons of high grade iron ore is available in the area.
The project was announced here today by Mr. J.N. McHugh, a director of Rompin Mining Co., a subsidiary of the Eastern Mining and Metals Co. Ltd., which at present owns the great Bukit Besi iron mine 21 miles inland from Dungun, Terengganu.
Mr. McHugh, who is in charge of the project, said it would take at least 3½ years to construct the railway and all necessary buildings.
He added that the company plans to export 800,000 tons of ore in the first year of operations, 1½ million in the second year, and then increase the output to two million tons a year when the demand required it.
Mr. McHugh said: “The development in Rompin is a logical one. It is very important to Malaya to preserve her position as a major supplier to Japan.”
30 per cent
“At present, Malaya sends Japan about 30 per cent of her annual imports.”
He added that advance geological investigation indicated that the Dungun mines would not after 1962 be in position to provide bulk tonnages although they were likely to produce on a small scale for a number of years.
This year, because of the recession in Japan’s steel industry, the mine had shipped only 1½ million tons to Japan as compared with 2,250,000 tons last year.
Mr.McHugh and the managing director of Eastern Mining and Metals, Mr. J.P. Diamond, will go to Japan this month to negotiate long term contracts for the purchase of iron ore from Bukit Ibam and for Japan to supply $10 million worth of steel, plant and railway equipment.
The company will raise part of its capital with a British bank and part from “an American source.”
Said Mr. McHugh: “No major difficulty is foreseen in financing the project which will be of considerable benefit to Malaya and to the state of Pahang.”
“The current recession in the steel and iron industry in Japan may cause some delay, but in view the importance of the development to Malaya and of the discussions held in Tokyo on the occasion of the Malayan goodwill mission’s visit to Japan in May this year, it is expected that the Japanese steel industry and the company will be able to work out mutually agreeable terms.”
The company has spent $2½ million in the past five years on the geological investigation.
It holds mining lease for 21 years over 3,000 acres and prospecting licenses and permits over a further 30,000 acres.
The Rompin company will draw many of its professional and skilled Malayan staff from Dungun where over 80 per cent of the workers are Malay.
What royalties will the Pahang Government be able to expect in due course?
Mr. McHugh recalled that the Terengganu Government has in the past sixyears received 416 million in royalties from Dungun mines.