top of page

Implementing P-L-P Conservation in the MOS Iron Mine

The Dublin Principles list practical guidelines for industrial heritage conservation, namely documentation, protection, maintenance and conservation as well as communication and education. Adaptation of The Dublin Principles needs to consider local institutional set-up. With reference to the above discussions, the following problems can be identified in implementing The Dublin Principles.



The documentation of built heritage in Hong Kong is building-based, not compatible with the scale and spatial nature of industrial heritage such as the MOS Iron Mine and its settlements. The A&MO has no clause stipulating documentation processes or assessment criteria for various types of built heritage.



The A&MO enacted in 1976 provides only one form of heritage protection, that is, the declaration of monuments. More policy and legal instruments may be required to respond to the various issues discovered by practitioners working on diverse types of built heritage that are not declared monuments. There is no statutory protection of graded historic buildings and the government has little control over conservation of privately owned properties (Luk 2018). Furthermore, there is an increasing number of heritages that exist in clusters and it makes little sense to undertake conservation based on individual buildings. 


Maintenance and conservation

The government is not proactive in site-based conservation and therefore the current policies are not particularly user-friendly for heritage conservation efforts in the MOS Iron Mine. Perhaps, CHO should be further empowered to take site-based conservation forward.


Financial sustainability is a major challenge for heritage conservation, especially for the maintenance of the hardware and conservation of a landscape. Funding schemes launched by government are mainly in the form of one-off grants to meet the starting costs (e.g. for a maximum of the first two years of operation at a ceiling amount) and requires social enterprises to become financially self-sustaining after the initial period. Other funding schemes such as the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust is mainly for research while the Jockey Club does not fund historic buildings on short-term tenancy sites. The local low-tax regime makes economic tools such as tax incentives not particularly effective in encouraging organisations to conserve for social purposes in Hong Kong. Although there are various conservation efforts undertaken by NGOs, there is a lack of coordination among these efforts. Civil society organisations are emerging to lobby on 138 various issues and NGOs are formed to take on some conservation sites. However, these efforts have not been sufficiently coordinated and organised to effect widespread changes.


Communication of the values to the public

Intangible values of the built heritage have been increasingly recognised, especially among the younger generations who believe that “certain places have a value to society which goes beyond the physical structures”. Yet there has been few authorised heritage discourse to educate and communicate intangible values of the built heritage in Hong Kong. According to our interviewees, the concept of industrial heritage may not be known among the general public.


  1. Landscape, though transformed, remains rather intact

  2. The integrity of the historic structures at the mine allows revitalisation and re-opening of some sections of the mining tunnels.

  3. There are rich social capital and collective memories in the MOS Iron Mine and surrounding landscape.

  4. There are clear socio-cultural, ecological and religious story-lines that connect the mine to local, regional and global histories.

  5. There are enthusiastic local advocacy groups to promote the values of the MOS Iron Mine.


  1. MOS Country Park and MOS Park nearby provide enough space for exhibiting the stories of the mine.

  2. There is development potential in MOS, providing possible opportunities for partnership between the private sector and civil society.

  3. Cooperation of the local advocacy groups with other conservation-centred NGOs.

  4. There are growing public interests towards the iron mine and its landscape.

  5. Technological advancement such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can be used to communicate the values and significance of the site.

  6. The digital era provides multiple platforms for public engagement.

  7. Policies for conservation and creative arts are developing.


  1. Accessibility of the conservation site has to be improved.

  2. Vulnerable environment has limited carrying capacity (e.g. natural disasters such as landslide).

  3. There is a lack of resources for conservation (e.g. financial, technical support, human resources).

  4. Existing community members may not know about the values of the MOS Iron Mine.


  1. Micro-climate accelerates the ageing of the remaining structures.

  2. The awareness for protecting and leaving-no-trace in the heritage site has to be improved (e.g. plastic bullets, probably a result of playing war games, are found near the remaining structures of the MOS Iron Mine from time to time).

  3. The current conservation policy is rather inadequate, providing little policy, financial and technical support to conserving industrial heritage in Hong Kong.

SWOT analysis of the MOS Iron Mine

Base on the SWOT analysis of the research materials, an online survey and an online workshop, we prepared a proposal tp conserve the MOS Iron Mine landscape using a Point-Line-Plane approach.

bottom of page