PHOTOGRAPHY – Exploring Ma On Shan’s Abandoned Iron Mine Complex

Between 1906 and 1976, Ma On Shan was home to a booming iron ore mine…

Ma On Shan Mine


An expert team from HK URBEX explored the underground network last month…

Raw iron ore was once transported to a processing plant 200 metres from the coast on what was the city’s first electric tram.

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Up to 5,000 iron ore miners and their families once lived in the area.

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A prospecting licence for the area was first issued to the HK Iron Mining Company in 1906.

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Open cast mining continued in the run-up to WWII as the licence was inherited by the New Territories Mining Company Ltd and, later, by South China Iron Smelters.

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After the Japanese withdrawal from Hong Kong, operations were scaled up and underground mining began. The work was largely done manually, without machinery.

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By 1964, there were 5,458m of main tunnels and shafts and 3,000m of sub-levels.

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Mining was suspended in 1976 and the 400-strong workforce were laid off as the mining lease expired in March 1981.

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Some geology experts and architects say the landscape, architecture and story of the lost industry would be worth preserving as a park, if nearby structures were repaired.

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Urban explorers were warned this week to stay away from caves and mine shafts by Conway Leung Nom-ho, chairman of the China Hong Kong Mountaineering & Climing Union. It follows the death of a man who had ventured into Lin Ma Hang caves near the border just last week.

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A short film about the mine is available on YouTube.

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In the video below, Gang Yang spoke to a villager about the area’s chequered history. Many former miners and their families remain in the area…

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Earlier last month, the team visited some of the new MTR tunnels.

Exploring forgotten corners of HK where nature is winning…

Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…

2 thoughts on “PHOTOGRAPHY – Exploring Ma On Shan’s Abandoned Iron Mine Complex

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