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7 January, 2010

Tin dredge
owner starts orchard to raise more funds

By FOONG THIM LENG

The company managing the country’s only surviving tin dredge in Tanjong Tualang as a tourist attraction has started a custard apple orchard to supplement its income for maintenance.

Century Mission Sdn Bhd manager Steven Ng said 1,200 trees were planted on about a hectare of sandy former mining land near the dredge.

He added that the orchard was the company’s plan to have agro and aquaculture projects to help attract more tourists.

Tin Dredge in Tajung Tualang, Perak

        Agro venture: Ng’s (inset) company has started this custard apple orchard
        to raise revenue for the maintenace of the tin mining dredge in the background.  

“The planting of fruits and vegetables, fish farms and the rearing of poultry are also part of tin mining history in the Kinta Valley.

“These activities were carried out on ex-mining land by workers for a living when they lost their jobs in the 1980s due to the collapse of the tin mining industry,” said Ng.

He said the custard apples on his orchard were of a Malaysian-Thai variety.

Fruiting, he said, was all-year round and each fruit weighs between 600gm and 1kg.

Ng said demand for the fruits, which was sold for RM12 per kilo, was high but supply was still low.

He said it costs about RM5,000 a month to maintain the dredge.

“The dredge is in danger of sinking and we are still seeking funds to repair its pontoons,” he said.

The heritage dredge, T.T. No 5, has tilted 18% into the water on the starboard side at the stern. It was built in 1938 by W.F. Payne & Sons.

Once belonging to Southern Malayan Tin Dredging (M) Sdn Bhd, the dredge had scoured for tin ore in the Kinta Valley for 44 years until operations stopped in 1983 due to the collapse of the industry.

The dredge was open for public viewing on Jan 1, 2008, after the Perak Government spent over half-a-million ringgit to develop it into an attraction.

-- The Star --