Foto ihsan Vignesh Baskaran Pillai.
Jalan light railway train keretapi mengangkut bijih besi dari Lombong Bukit Ibam ke Kg Lanjut Kuala Rompin sejauh 50 batu siap dibina pada tahun 1962. Sistem pengangkutan ini selain memudahkan juga mengurangkan pencemaran.
Bagaimana syarikat Rompin Mining Co. boleh berjaya membina jalan keretapi akan WZWH terangkan. Bagaimana syarikat British boleh melombong bina infrastruktur mengurangkan pencemaran di Pahang?
Rompin Mining Co melalui parent company Eastern Mining Metal Mining Ltd (EMMCO):
- Dengan Jepun 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.
- Will raise part of its capital with a British bank and part from “an American source.”
- Actually negotiations were held in London between EMMCO and the Chartered Bank and Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for the $100 million capital to open up the mine.
Projek pembinaan landasan keretapi sepanjang 50 batu dari Lombong Bukit Ibam ke Kg Lanjut Kuala Rompin bermula pada tahun 1959 dan siap pada tahun 1962.
Oleh kerana pengeluaran bijih besi telah berkurangan, Lombong Bukit Ibam telah ditutup pada tahun 1970.
Apa yang berlaku kepada landasan keretapi yang telah ditinggalkan itu? Hasilnya, landasan kereta api ringan tersebut ditanggalkan pada penghujung awal 1970an dan digantikan dengan dua jalan raya berturap (Laluan Persekutuan dan Laluan Negeri Pahang C110 )
Berapa royalti Kerajaan Negeri Pahang dapat? Hampir RM500 juta.
Di bandar Rompin, dihadapan Kompleks Pejabat Daerah ada sebuah kepala keretapi lama. Ianya ialah sejarah kepunyaan syarikat Rompin Co. terlibat dengan perlombongan bijih besi Bukit Ibam.
Ceritanya bermula apabila seorang Asli bernama Leman menemui sejenis batu logam yang akhirnya setelah dibuat penyelidikan ianya ialah bijih besi pada tahun 1950 .Bermula dari situ sebuah syarikat British, Eastern Mining & Mineral Company(EMCO) membangunkan lombong bijih besi disitu.
Oleh kerana jarak ke pelabuhan kecil di Kampung Pantai Bernas begitu jauh untuk menghantar bijih, jalan keretapi dibina oleh syarikat Rompin Mining Company/ROMPINCO.
Sebelumnya perhubungan ke sana adalah melalui sungai Rompin ke Kampung Aur dan jalan darat ke Bukit Ibam sejauh 18 km. Menurut ceritanya, dahulu jika bersampan dari Aur ke Rompin memakan masa selama 2 minggu.
Semasa pembinaan jalan keretapi, jurutera syarikat itu bernama Fittsburg membaca buku bertajuk ' I Bought A Mountain'... maka nama IBAM diambil dari huruf-huruf awal buku berkenaan. Lalu bukit itu dinamakan Bukit Ibam.
Kini Bukit Ibam tinggal kembali sebagai sebuah penempatan tidak sesibuk dan meriah seperti dulu, ada beberapa kilang kuari,yang ada di sana sebuah tasik bekas lombong yang dipanggil 'Tasik Biru'.
In 2 November, 1953, The Straits Times, reported that Malaya’s biggest mining development – a $100 million project to tap East Pahang’s iron ore deposits will be undertaken by locally registered British-owned Eastern Mining Metal Company.
Negotiations were held in London between EMMCO and the Chartered Bank and Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for the $100 million capital to open up the mine.
Prospecting in the hilly country that went over two years reported that more than 25 million tons of high grade iron ore deposited in the area. The area was near Kampong Kuala Aur, about 50-mile west of Kuala Merchong, between the river Jeram and the river Rompin.
EMMCO plans to spend about 430 million on a 50-mile railway from the mine to the sea and by 1955 the mine will employ up to 3,000 workers.
The ore will be shipped to Britain, United States and other countries. About 2,000 acres of land has been leased to EMMCO by the Pahang Government. The company hopes eventually to secure a lease for about 9,000 acres.
The Straits Times edition Friday 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.”
“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 six years (since 1952) received 416 million in royalties from Dungun mines.
Keberangkatan Sultan Pahang ke Lombong Bukit Ibam merasmi lombong. Foto ihsan Trevor Hislop.
On Saturday, 7 July 1962, Bukit Ibam Mine was declared open as Malaya’s biggest iron mine by the Sultan of Pahang. Sultan Abu Bakar officiated the opening by pressing a button at the treatment plant of the Bukit Ibam Mine which owned by Rompin Mining Ltd.
The mine, at 770-ft high Bukit Ibam, in the wilds of South Pahang, cost $100 million to develop.
After the opening ceremony, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Inche Mohamed KhirJohari, told the Sunday Times:
“It is the biggest capital investment in Malaya since merdeka”.
Also the largest development project by a commercial company”.
“The mine was open in true pioneer spirit. I am really pleased”.
This mining centre, which will eventually have a population of 6,000, was decorated with bunting and arches for the opening ceremony.
As the train carrying the royal party halted after its 50-mile journey from Lanjut, two miles from Kuala Rompin, 1,400 workers at the mine shouted “Daulat Tuanku”.
The mine is one of the largest in South-East Asia
The first shipment of iron ore, 10,000 tons was left Kuala Rompin on 6 July 1962 for Japan.
Mr. J.N. McHugh, managing director of Rompin Mining Company, in his opening speech thanked the Federation and Pahang Governments for their cooperation during 10 years it had taken for the mine to start operations at Bukit Ibam.
He said the company initial $100 million investment would increase as the mine expanded
Lombong Bukit Ibam. Foto ihsan Trevor Hislop.
Panorama Lombong Bukit Ibam. Foto ihsan Vignesh Baskaran Pillai.
Kumpulan pekerja mekanik Lombong Bukit Ibam. Foto ihsan Vignesh Baskaran Pillai.
Stockpile amang bijih besi. Foto ihsan Vignesh Baskaran Pillai..