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Dredge No.5 (TT5)

Last surviving tin dredge TT5 receives British engineering heritage award

27 Mar 2023 | RONNIE CHIN / The Star

Tanjung Tualang Dredge No.5

The Perak state government has spent RM10mil since 2017 on repair works to maintain Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No 5 (TT5), Malaysia’s last surviving tin dredge. Photo: The Star/Ronnie Chin

The iconic heritage of Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No 5 (TT5) in Perak became the first tin mining dredger in this country – and in the world – to receive an award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) United Kingdom.

State infrastructure, energy, water and public transport committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin said recently the recognition was a source of pride for Perak and Malaysia because the TT5 was the first dredger to be recognised by the engineering body which has so far given out 137 awards around the world.

According to him, the state government through the Menteri Besar’s Corporation (MB Inc) has spent RM10mil since 2017 on repair works to maintain Malaysia’s last surviving tin dredge.

“It is possible that there will be more allocations if needed, for repairs on the equipment in this dredger,” he said at a media conference after the Heritage Award acceptance ceremony by IMechE Engineering at the TT5 Heritage Site near Batu Gajah.

The award was presented in person by IMechE Eur Ing president Phil Peel. Also present were state tourism, industry, investment and corridor development committee chairman Loh Sze Yee and communications, multimedia and NGO committee chairman Mohd Azlan Helmi Helmi.

Among engineering marvels that earned such recognition were the Concorde aircraft, the RAF Museum Supermarine Spitfire and the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital.

Meanwhile, the 85-year-old dredger TT5 was built by a British company, FW Payne & Sons in 1938 (used for 44 years until 1982) and is now under the supervision of MB Inc through its subsidiary, Amanjaya TTS Sdn. Bhd.

TT5 was selected as the recipient of the award because it meets the criteria of being well-maintained, contributing to the state and national economy and having its own heritage characteristics.

In the meantime, Phil Peel said, the engineering body took three to four months to conduct an assessment of the TT5 before the recognition decision was approved.

“So it takes about three to four months to be precise (to take the application that came in to be reviewed by the committee) and TT5 was the only (tin dredge) that survived and this is the criteria as well for the impact of engineering as well as heritage,” he said. – Bernama

Opening of tin dredge delayed to year end

THE country’s last tin dredge – the Tanjung Tualang Dredge No.5 (TT5) – will only be opened to the public in the last quarter of the year despite being listed as one of the 10 icons of Visit Perak Year 2017.

Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) chief executive officer Datuk Aminudin Hashim said restoration works, which commenced last May, were only completed up to 80% currently.

Initially planned for completion last quarter, he said restoration efforts would only be completed in July.

“After that, we will have to obtain the necessary safety certifications.

Aminudin said rather than rush efforts to rehabilitate and revive the 79-year-old historical structure, MB Inc wanted to make sure things were done properly.

“We also sought the expertise and opinion of numerous quarters while taking into consideration the issue of cost before embarking on work to save the dredge,” he said, explaining the cause of the delay.

He added that MB Inc managed to bring down the cost of its restoration from the initial RM12mil to just RM4mil.

Weighing 4,500 tonnes, TT5 was built in England in 1938 and was eventually rebuilt in 1963.

Previously owned by the Malaysia Mining Corporation Bhd, it was retired in 1982 because of tin export controls and donated to the Perak government in 2014 before being entrusted to MB Inc the following year.

But rather than just restore the tin dredge, MB Inc planned to convert the area surrounding it into a world-class tourist attraction.

Calling the dredge an engineering masterpiece, Aminudin said it would be central to the planned 24.28ha tourist attraction costing RM30mil.

There will be guided tours around the dredge as well as a gallery and museum on tin dredging with other proponents such as cafes, gift shops, a resort, camping site and a venue for special functions such as weddings.

Traders from surrounding villages will also be invited to market their products such as dodol, keris, handicrafts and model sailboats at the site, which is located just 8km from Kellie’s Castle and 25km from Gua Tempurung.

The project will eventually be a part of a larger development and housing project covering 242.8ha by MB Inc.

Source: The Star – 25 Apr 2017

Tanjung Tualang Dredge No.5 (TT5)

The first tin dredge was introduced in Malaysia in 1913 by Malayan Tin Dredging Ltd and started operations in Batu Gajah, Perak. It was steam-powered, using 280-litre buckets that could dig to a dept of 15 metres. The company acquired four dredges and by 1924 was the largest tin dredging company in the world.

In 1926, a sister company, Southern Malayan Tin Dredging Ltd was formed, and operated a further five tin dredges between Batu Gajah and Tanjung Tualang.

This fifth dredge, the Tanjung Tualang Dredge No.5 (TT5) was designed and built by F.W. Payne in 1938 in England. It is located approximately 9 kilometres south of Batu Gajah on the Tanjung Tualang road. The dredge was in operation for 44 years, until August 1982, when a drop in tin prices made the dredge uneconomicaly viable.

The dredge would run on diesel generated electricity 24 hours a day, in two shifts with approximately 20 workers per shift. The conveyor buckets would dig the tin-bearing soil and transport it upwards, emptying the contents into an oscillating drum. The tin would then be extracted through a system of jigs and screens, leaving the excess material to e disposed of via a system of chutes at the back of the dredge.

The TT5 tin dredge is currently owned by the Perak State Government. It is of enormous heritage value as the last remaining tin dredge of its kind in Malaysia.

A committee was formed at the end of 2010 to save, preserve and enhance TT5 tin dredge so that it could showcase Malaysia’s tin mining past through tourism and education. This has resulted in a “Save the Dredge” campaign in order to raise funds for restoration of the dredge.

– Malaysia Minerals