Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last Tin Dredge in Malaysia

We read about tin dredge in our history class many years back in our secondary school, "kapal korek" we called it in Malay Language. Now, we see it with our own eyes in Batu Gajah, Perak. It goes beyond everything that we had ever imagined. It is gigantic.

Tanjung Tualang Dredge No 5 (TT5) was one of the largest mining machine of its kind. Three storeys high, 4,500 tonnes, supported by a pontoon of 75 meters in length, 35 meters in width, 115 digging buckets which could dig 15 meters deep, once supported 17 workers working in shift, swallowing the marshes and mud to extract the valuable mineral.

Many years ago, these machines were the symbols of prosperity, which had brought handsome revenue to our country. 75 of them in total between 1954 - 1964, feeding 45% of the world's demand. Then, the tin price nosedived in 1980s. When the operational cost rose above the production cost, these giant machines were shut down one by one. Now, it is the last survival of its kind, laying quietly in a small pond at Batu Gajah. Many years back, people believed that it would be a matter of time for this metal giant to be consumed by rust. However, it stands tall and proud as we can see today, result of the preservative works done by many. You can read more about the preservation of this last dredge at

Starting from Kampar, we reached Batu Gajah through Gopeng. Then, we followed the sign boards to Tanjung Tualang. The dredge is located about 10 km from Gopeng towards Tanjung Tualang. There was no clear sign showing the exact location of the dredge along the way. If you are driving from Gopeng towards Tanjung Tualang, the dredge should be about two minutes away after Chenderong, on your left. The opening hours of the dredge are 8:30 am - 6:30 pm daily, with a lunch break at 12 - 1 pm. The admission fees are RM6.00 for adult, RM5.00 for student (with student card) and RM3.00 for child.

 This three storey high mining machine lies quietly in this old mining pond.

 Walking around the pond, we can see the dredge from different angles.

 The front side of the dredge.

The ladder with buckets still attached. The ladder can reach 31 meters below the water.

 Close up of digging buckets.

 The entrance to the first level of the dredge.

 One of the workstations in the dredge.

Separated from tin, stones and sand were discharged from these chutes located at the back side of the dredge.

"Safety first" in four languages.

You will have a better idea of how big is the ladder by looking at this photo.

The spare metal bucket in the dredge.

A canvas banner was hung at the entrance of the dredge museum, which is around 100 meters away from the main road (upper left). A small information centre with some old black and white photos and objects on display. Not much that we can learn from there.

We passed by Chenderong before reach the dredge (upper left). The dredge was hidden and we couldn't see it from the main road (lower left). There was a "Jom Teroka" or "Come and Discover" sign board beside the road, facing Tanjung Tualang direction (upper right). We had to look back to see the sign. The overgrown shrubs made the dredge hard to be seen, even from the information centre.

Our photo at the right flank of the dredge. The sun shine proudly during our visit. It was very hot.

The tin mining was a very important activity, not only at Kinta Valley, but it brought a rise to whole Malaysia. For us, the tin dredge visualized what we had learnt in our history and geography lessons, far back to our secondary school. Well, this is the last survived one in our country. Without it, we would have to go to other country to look for one.

No food and drink are sold around the tourist area. The nearest towns that we can look for a meal are Batu Gajah to the north, or Tanjung Tualang to the south. However, in our trip, we traveled further north to Ipoh to take our lunch. Sunny day is good for taking good photo with clear blue sky. However, the blazing sun might be unforgiven for those who wish to take a walk around the dredge. So, we would advise that bringing an umbrella might be necessary. Again, like Kellie's Castle, this site might not strong enough to be your standalone point in your itinerary. Take the opportunity to visit Kellie's Castle at Batu Gajah, Kampar, and Ipoh around the area. We heard that Tanjung Tualang is famous with its prawn, take a look about the food at this site- Tanjung Tualang Prawns. You might like to take a try.

We learned some useful information from these sites about the last tin dredge. Maybe you would like to take a look as well- TT5 Tin Dredge, Dredge up the Past, and Thiffytraveller. Driving your own car or joining a local tour in Ipoh or Kampar might be a good idea to go to both Kellie's Castle and the Tin Dredge at Batu Gajah. As far as we could see, there was no public transport around the area.

Our sharing on other places in Perak are available as listed below.


  1. I knew about this site but haven't been there before. Maybe I should do it soon.

    1. You will have the chance, dear friend. Make it a stop whenever you are going to the places in vicinity.

  2. This place is closed. I went there last weekend, but can only see from a far.

  3. Sadly, when I find out about the last Dredge in Msia recently and excitedly when with my family on 2 August 2014 only to discover it is closed. ( if only i have found this blog earlier then perhaps i may not have made that trip).... Truly hope nothing will happen to the last Dredge understandably lots of heritage site is gone forever .. next generation may not know what is what ? One wonder what is our Msian Tourism Board is doing .... Hope one day can go again to see the Dredge ....

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