After the mine's closure, most of the structures invluding tunnel entrances, auxiliary structures, and offices buildings remained intact. Some of the structures are abandoned while others are revitalised and repurposed. Moreover, while the community around the mine has been shrinking, some landmarks are still standing nowadays and witness the ups and downs of the mine.

Mine-related structures

1

Open-pit mining area

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Abandoned

1906

The iron ore deposit was extracted by surface mining between 1906 and 1959. The surface mining area, formed by benches dug at different levels, stretched from southeast to northwest. In 1956, the surface mining area was considerably developed with 7 to 8 benches in operation. Waste stones were piled up at the north and south dumps.

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3

Underground structures

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District, Pier District

Abandoned

1953

Underground mining began in 1953 where sub-level stoping was adopted. The ore body was divided into different levels following a vertical direction and sub-divided into different cube blocks at the same level. Extraction was executed from upper levels to lower levels.The tunnels were divided into 3 main levels for extraction, which were: 240ML to 192ML, 192ML to 152ML, and 152ML to 110ML. Each main level was sub-divided into separate 7-8m high working surfaces in cube form, called stopes. From there the iron ore was transferred by electric locomotive from the tunnel to the ore dressing plant for beneficiation, turning them into high grade iron ore for export to Japan.

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5

Mineral preparation plant

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Pier District

Abandoned

1954

The mineral preparation plant comprised mainly of three sections which are now abandoned: the crushing section, the grinding section and the desiccating section, as well as auxiliary structures such as office, track pillars and water tank. The plant was claimed to be one of the most modern of its kind in Asia at that time. The quality as well as the quantity of the iron ore improved tremendously after the ore dressing plant was constructed, and brought the mine to its heyday. Although the authenticity of the plant has been jeopardized after the closure of the Mine, the remaining structures demonstrates a good example of joint venture between Japan and Hong Kong in the 1950s, and serves as an unique in a way that it allows people to have a glimpse of the spectacular past of the mining industry in Hong Kong.

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7

Structures for auxiliary operations

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Abandoned

1950-1960

There are many auxiliary structures which provide essential service to the mining activity, such as ventilation, power, water pumping, maintenance, lighting, and communication. Since the structures are vital part of the industrial operation, they are classified as a part of the heritage landscape.

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9

Technical staff dormitory

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Private house

?

The dormitory was built for the company’s technical staff, including foreman and explosives workers. It has two storey and has a staircase outdoor. The walls are built of brickwork and coated with grey cement slurry. Window openings has been formed at ground floor level and first floor level, all with concrete lintels which project to form sheltering hoods or canopies. Internally the rooms have plastered and painted walls and ceilings.

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11

Canteen-cum-granary

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Private house

1949

The structure comprises 3 one-storey blocks joined together as a row. It has walls of brickwork or masonry which have been rendered and painted. A series of window openings allow breezes to blow across the premises. The windows are spaced at regular intervals with projecting concrete hoods for rain protection. Gate piers built of stones can be seen on both sides of the fenced entrance. The doorways are on the south-west side of the blocks facing a courtyard paved with tiles. This structure could be one of the few miners’ quarters, furnished with bunk beds inside, for miners who belonged to the same working unit. Other said that it was a canteen-cum-granary where miners were served with free lunch provided by the Company.

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2

Exterior walls of 240ML

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Abandoned

1953

The exterior wall of 240ML is a concrete structure with a rectangular opening and two large circular openings above to house ventilation fans. With the assistance of the geologists and mining engineers from the Nittetsu Mining Company of Japan, surface mining was gradually transited to underground mining which resulted in increased output. Although the machinery was removed after the closure of the Mine in 1976, the authenticity of the exterior walls of 240ML is largely preserved as a reminder of the mining activity in the past. The relic reflects the improvement in mining technology and therefore a valuable testimony to the MOS mining history.

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4

Exterior walls of 110ML

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Pier District

Abandoned

1963

Constructed in 1963, the exterior wall of 110ML is recessed into the side of the mountain in a cutting which is faced or revetted on either side by concrete retaining walls about four metres high marked with faux joint lines to resemble ashlar masonry. The portal itself is an arched opening in a concrete retaining wall with faux joint lines to represent voussoirs. The entrance of the 110ML tunnel was only 200 metres from the coast in the past and was close to the ore-dressing plant. The working process was simplified, thus saving time for conveyance, reducing transportation costs and boosting the production rate.

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6

Mineral preparation plant no.2

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Ma On Bridge District

Abandoned

1960

The small crushing plant was constructed in 1960 at the Ma On Bridge District between the ore dressing plant and the open-pit area. As the ore output from the 240ML and 280ML tunnels decreased gradually, MMTC discovered that the old tailing of lump ore below 50% iron content still contained economic value after beneficiation. Therefore, a second ore dressing plant was built to crush the low quality crude ore with merely 10% iron content. The crude ore underwent the processes of crushing, screening and dry magnetic separation, before passing on to the ore dressing plant at the Pier District for final processing. The construction of the plant represented an improvement of mining technology, remaining iron content from the accumulated tailing was extracted, thus boosting the production in the 1960s

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8

Branch Office of MMTC

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Private house

1950s

In order to supervise the operation of the Mine and mining related facilities, the MMTC set up two offices in the 1950s at the Pier District and the Peak District respectively. Since the head office at the coast of Tide Cove was dismantled due to the redevelopment of the Pier District, the branch office, along with the mechanical section and the technical staff dormitory at the Peak District are the only structures left to demonstrate the daily operation of the MMTC. The building is locked up so that it is difficult to understand exactly how the office operated.

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10

Clinic

Location

Status

Year of establishment

Peak District

Private house

1951

Mining is a high risk occupation. Since there was no hospital at Ma On Shan to deal with emergency cases caused by mining accidents, MMTC established two clinics in 1951, one at the Pier and one at the Peak District. They hired government registered doctors to run the clinic. Workers and their family members of the Company could enjoy medical treatment provided by the clinic, although the doctor could only deal with minor illness with backward facilities. The clinic had continued to serve the community for free until the closure of the mine, even though the number of non-workers had kept increasing.

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Community related structures

12

Ping On Bridge tablet

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Tablet

1964

Ping On Bridge was the connection between the mining area and the residential area. At the beginning it was constructed by rail tracks covered with wood planks. MMTC paid for the reconstruction of the bridge in 1964. The tablet with the name of the bridge on it was written by Mr. Yu Ka Wah (who was a former secretary and Chief of the Human Resource Section of the Company), wishing safety for the miners. The bridge demonstrates the spirit of mutual support and improving the quality of life of the local residents.

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14

St. Joseph's Chapel compound

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Abandoned

1954

The religious compound among the other structures of the Ma On Shan mining settlement has very important meaning in terms of history and architecture. Historically, the construction of the St. Joseph’s Church compound witnessed the active involvement of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong after the Chinese Civil War. The missionaries were forbidden to preach their faith in China after the Civil War, so they moved south to Hong Kong and erected many chapels or churches in the New Territories to preach the gospel, and St. Joseph’s Church was one of those. Although the church compound was not excessively decorated, the practical design of the buildings alongside with befitting decorations showed how construction was done with local resources. Architectural style of this kind is rarely found in Hong Kong.

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16

Lutheran Yan Kwong Church compound

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Grace Youth Camp

1952

The construction of the Lutheran Yan Kwong Church witnessed the history of the Christian missionary in the 1950s. Christian missionary left China after the Chinese Civil War and began to preach elsewhere. Some of them headed south to Hong Kong to continue their mission. The missionary of American Lutheran Mission at Yuzhong was appointed to station at Ma On Shan during that period, enhancing the development of Christianity in Hong Kong. The church developed into another centre of religion, education and social activities apart from the St. Joseph’s Church. . The church compound served as an important facility for social activities, becoming an inseparable part of the Ma On Shan Iron Mine. As part of the revitalization project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong, three old structures of the complex, including the church, have been refurbished and operated as a site to promote mining history and eco-tourism of MOS since 2015.

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18

Ma On Shan Village Old People's Association

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Meeting place

1980s

The Old People’s Association was formed by the St. Joseph’s Primary School teacher Mr. Zhang, Bo after the closure of the Mine, to provide welfare to ex-miners still living in the village. A supply station was set up in 1986 at the request of local residents to provide daily necessities such as rice and kerosene. The then supply station now become the gathering venue of the Association.

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13

Former house cum grocery store

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Private house

?

Local residents who worked as miners lived a hard life with their families. In order to earn more money to feed the family, women and children worked in the field or in shops run by their own when men were mining. It was very common for the local residents to turn part of their house into a shop or an eatery to earn extra income. The former grocery store was a good example to demonstrate the making of a local economy.

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15

Footbridge

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Peak District

Abandoned

1963

Students of the St. Joseph’s Primary School used to go to school via this footbridge. The bridge provides easier access to the church as the stream under the footbridge is subject to flooding in rainy days.

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17

Shun Yee San Tsuen

Location

Status

Year of establistment

Pier District

Private house

1961

As resources were scarce at MOS, building materials applied to local housing were mostly rubbles, planks and metal-sheets, hence easily destroyed under bad weather condition, such as heavy rainstorm and typhoon. Therefore Shun Yee San Tsuen (literally “Lutheran New Village”) was constructed in the 1960s to rehouse miners’ families who had been made homeless by heavy rainstorms.

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此項目由保育歷史建築基金資助

This project is funded by the Built Heritage Conservation Fund

©2020 by Institute of Future Cities, The Chinese University of Hong Kong