Remains of the MOS Iron Mine at the Peak District are important evidence for the transition from open-pit mining to underground stoping. Although the government has barred the 110ML and 240ML entrances so that the underground mine with its intricate networks of tunnels is no longer legally accessible, the underground structures are indispensable parts of the history of the MOS Iron Mine. Underground mining, enabled by Japanese investment and technological transfer, signified the improvement of mining techniques, raising production and relieving transportation needs.
The historic mining structures and settlements within walking distance from the MOS New Town enable the retelling of a coherent story of the life and death of the mining industry in the city, its impacts on the natural and built environment, as well as people’s lives and livelihood as the city faced multiple challenges related to post-WWII political changes and economic restructuring.
In 2016, the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) (2016e) assessed artefacts at MOS and graded the following:
Grade 2 status (buildings of special merit and should be preserved selectively):
Exterior walls of 240ML and 110ML, MOS Iron Mine
St. Joseph’s Church, MOS Tsuen Road
Grade 3 status (buildings of some merit and some form of preservation or even alteration could be considered):
Mineral Preparation Plant, MOS Iron Mine
Lutheran Yan Kwong Church, MOS Tsuen Road
Site Structures at Mining Settlement, MOS Iron Mine
Based on our multi-dimensional research, we consider it important to understand the values of the MOS Iron Mine landscape in its totality.
During its most productive years from the 1950s to the 1970s, the MOS Iron Mine and its rather impoverished settlements encapsulated a very important chapter of Hong Kong’s development history. The remains of the MOS Iron Mine exhibit transnational efforts in developing the mining industry in Hong Kong, with rather advanced technologies at that time. As the life and death of the Mine were related to local, regional, national and international events, the industrial remains constitute rare and rich learning resources for both professionals and the lay public.
While settlements developed around the Mine were materially poor, with the help of the two internationally connected churches, communities in MOS were relationship-rich. People with faith were willing to serve in the poorest communities, nourishing their body and soul. Community members were ready to help one another. Children growing up at MOS enjoyed not only the love and care of the teachers, Church sisters and father, and priests of the church schools, but also the wonder of nature, the flora and fauna of a biodiversity rich ecosystem.
These multi-dimensional stories that have taken place in space and time allow us to identify the significance and cultural values of the MOS Iron Mine landscape.
With reference to Planning Department’s 2005 Landscape Character Map and associated landscape baseline data set, a physical plane is identified to embrace 18 points, a line and three clusters within the plane:
A total of 18 points are identified which fall into two categories of heritage related to mining and the settlements.
A line can be drawn to link up all the points of interests, including heritage items near the former Pier District (Mineral Preparation Plant, 110ML and tunnel and Shun Yee San Tseun) and the Peak District (on the mining and settlement heritage) with potential sites (the Mid-Level District and Ma On Bridge District) for further research in between.
Three clusters of heritages are identified within the plane
The Peak District cluster consists of many points that when connected tell a profound story of the developments of the MOS Iron Mine and its related human settlement.
The Peak District contains rich industrial and cultural heritages and should be conserved in its totality in order to conserve the integrity of the natural and cultural landscapes.
The foothill cluster consists of the ore dressing (mineral preparation) plant, the 110ML tunnel and Shun Yee San Tsuen.
The settlements cluster between the two clusters above needs further research and documentation.