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Tag Archives: Economy

Govt takeover of Rompin for land project

Bukit Ibam Mine in History

The Straits Times 17NOV 1970 Govt TakeoverThe Straits Times, 17 November 1970

ROMPIN, Mon – Tun Abdul Razak flew in here today and assured the people their town will not die.

“Your mining town will be the nucleus for the giant Pahang Tenggara land development scheme,” the Prime Minister told the 1,200 retrenched workers of the Rompin mine.

He said the alternative employment would be found for them – some in and around the town itself, while others in various projects to be developed later on.

As an immediate measure, the Government would take over the running of Bukit Ibam Mine site and develop it into the nucleus town within 2.5 million-acre land development scheme.


A special team comprising officials of Public Works Department, the National Electricity Board and other Government agencies had begun surveying the area for the project that would cost $1 million initially.

After his meeting the officials of the mine, Tun Razak told reporters he was “satisfied” with the measure to be taken to rehabilitate the retrenched workers.

The Rompin Mine, operated by the Eastern Mining and Metals Company since 1962, at its peak employed more than 1,200 people and produced about two-and-a-quarter million tons of high grade ore annually.

About 800 employees have been now retrenched due to low output and the remaining workers would be retrenched at the end of January when the mine ceases operation.



Work for another year at mines

Bukit Ibam in History

The Straits Times 13NOV 1970The Straits Times 13 November 1970

ROMPIN. Thurs – About 100 of the 1,172 retrenched workers of the Rompin mines here will continue to work at the mines for another year.

They have been employed by George Cohen Far East Pte. Ltd.  – agents appointed to dispose off the $10 million worth of plant and equipment of the Rompin Mining Co., which ceased production recently.

The resident manager of George Cohen, Mr. Philip Robinson, said today that the 100 workers would be needed, among other things, to run the power station, and maintain the office account and machinery at Rompin Mining Co.

He said that the company had received numerous enquiries for the equipment from local and foreign companies.

Mr. Robinson added that preference would be given to the retrenched workers who intended to buy the equipment. – Bernama


$15m retrench pay-out for 5,500 mines workers

Bukit Ibam in History

The Straits Times OCT22, 1970 $15m Retrenchment PayoutThe Straits Times, 22 October 1970

KUALA LUMPUR, Wed.- The EMMCO group of mining companies will pay out  more than $15 million as retrenchment benefits to their 5,500 workers in Rompin, Pahang and Bukit Besi, Trengganu.

An agreement was signed today between the group and the East Coast Mining Industries Union at the Ministry of Labour here.

The agreement was signed by the group’s financial director, Mr, S.R. Teed, the union’s president, Inche Yusoff bin Mohamed Shah, Inche Yusoff Rashid of the NOC and Inche Sidek Ta’at from the Ministry of Labour.


The companies under the group are the EMMCO in Bukit Besi, Rompinco in Rompin, Eastern Stevedoring Company and Trengganu Minerals Company.

The iron mines in the two states are to close down next month.

The agreement for the pay-out includes the retrenchment benefits, loss of employment benefits, transport expenses and hospital benefits.

In a press statement today, Inche Yusoff bin Mohamed Shah said the loss employment were in addition to the retrenchment benefits agreed upon by both sides in 1963.

Bukit Ibam in History - Trevor Hislop [img105]“My wife is at centre front and I am immediately behind her in a brown shirt. Centre at the back is Jim Cushing (Stores Superintendent) with Brian Dick to his right. Photo taken in our home, June 1970.

All others were workshop staff”. – Trevor Hislop

Bukit Ibam in History - Trevor Hislop [img098]“Attached is a 1969 Bukit Ibam photo from a fancy dress party. I have one daughter, Tracy in the back row and another in the front row next to the “cowboy”. Some of your bloggers may recognize themselves when a bit younger!” – Trevor Hislop.



Iron Peters Out

Bukit Ibam Mine in History

The Straits Times 16 October 1970

Iron Peters Out

A small increase in Malaysia’s production of iron ore last year has proved deceptive, as the experts expected it would.  When the mines at Bukit Besi, near Dungun, close down – the same fate apparently lies in wait for the Rompin mine – there will be substantial fall in production, and no hope of recovery.  Already annual production, at just over five million tons a year, is down by a third on the boom years of the middle sixties and the value of exports, all to Japan, have declined from $176 million to just over $110 million.  The dissappearance of the Dungun and Rompin iron will slice these figures by another one third, and threaten disaster to two prosperous communities of thirty thousand people.

Can these mines be saved?  The Trengganu and Pahang state governments can depend on the central government’s support, and even its financial assistance, if a practical plan can be found.  The state governments face a serious loss of revenue from royalties, and relatively heavy capital expenditure for the resettlement of 4,500 men (and their families) directly employed by the mines.  The workers at Bukit Besi are prepared to put $3 million of their own money into co-operative company run as a joint venture with the Trengganu government.  They would prefer no doubt to see the mine become entirely a state enterprise.  And the vice-president of the mining industries’ union estimates that Bukit Besi is still good for a million tons of ore a year.

This is doubtful.  In any case, for how long?  An even more important question is who would buy it?  The Japanese, with supplies assured from Australia, won’t renew their contract, a primary reason for the decision to close the mine.  The Japanese were the original developers of the East Coast iron mines, back in the thirties, when no-one else was interested.  Any plan to keep the mines going will depend on finding first a guaranteed market.  Without this certainty it will be better to concentrate at once on alternative schemes.  Most of the land in this part of the East Coast is fertile (too good for rubber, say the experts) and palm oil and agricultural crops are the answer.

Iron ore is not the treasure it was.  Intensive prospecting has not disclosed any size\able further deposits, and some of the earlier calculations of the iron in Perak and Johore apparently were a little too optimistic.  The Ministry of Lands and Mines in a January estimate warned that the known reserves would not last more than another five years.  Since then two of the smaller mines near Ipoh have closed.  The suggestion that Malaysian ore should be smelted in Malaysia has been made from time to time, and Singapore might be interested, for the quality of most of the ore is high.  But propositions that may have had their attraction when reserves were thought to be larger, and the geologists held out the half promise of more, look rather different today.