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TOPIC: Trip Report - Ma On Shan Mine - Hong Kong - 2018

Trip Report - Ma On Shan Mine - Hong Kong - 2018 1 month 3 days ago #33649

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History on the Mine

Ma On Shan Ironstone Mine operated for 70 years from 1906 to 1976.

The miners would enter the underground environment from the 240 level, travelling down the ramp on a cable hauled railway. Then reaching working levels they would start their day. Teams would drill the ore bearing rock for the daily blast, others would clean up and undertake secondary blasting to break-up oversized boulders. The blasted ore would feed discharge chutes or draw points where the material would be loaded into hand pushed cars or a four-ton battery locomotive pushing 1m3 muck skips. Through a series of vertical passes, the ore would be dropped to the 144 level where it was further dropped to the 110 level and into the hoppers. In addition to men moving the ore with chutes and shovels, the mine was also equipped with a scraper system. Ore from the stopes descended to the draw points where a scraper pulled past, collecting the material and dropping it into an adjacent ore pass. With this arrangement, one man could clear four draw points with minimal resources. The winch foundation and protection wall..

More history here, including detailed descriptions on the driving and extraction methods: https://industrialhistoryhk.org/ma-on-shan-mine-part-2-going-underground/


Mine Plan


Intoxication

Awaking still jet lagged at 10am, and hungover from the previous nights 'Gin Top' antics, it was difficult to rouse my two companions. I was dancing around with glee that we would be taking a days rest from pissing off security guards, and go on a relaxing mine trip instead.

D & M, explaining to me that we all had around 3 hours sleep from the night previous and my enthusiasm was fulled by alcohol toxicity, advised that they would be abandoning the trip, leaving me to set off on my own to join our guide for the day.

As i left the apartment, the humidity and heat hit me again. I'd already had 3 days of 30 degrees constant temperature, coupled with a roughly 99% humidity and tropical rain storms, this left me with the realisation that Hong Kong really just was an urban jungle and the only comfortable places to be are the various bars and perhaps one of the local mines.

Meeting with our guide, we embarked on the hour and a half journey up to the mine, at some point D called us that he had changed his mind quite fancied coming to the mine with us.



Alcohol - Destroyer of men


Rain and more rain

Arriving off the train at Ma On Shan metro station, the tropical cyclone 400 miles off the coast had decided to remind us of it's existence and the plan of a 'leisurely stole up the mountain in the sun' went out of the window, so we decided to grab a taxi and see how far we could convince him to take us up the mountain. As it turns out, we must have picked the right taxi, as he dropped us all at a shelter within a 10 minute walk to the mine.

At this point i must point out the futility of waterproofs in Hong Kong. You get wetter from sweat wearing them that you would from the rain... That said, i was keen to stay as dry as possible, considering the mine was going to my 'Air conditioned paradise for the day'. Donning 'Manbrellas' and ponchos, we set off in torrential conditions towards the mine entrance.


The drop off shelter


Rain protection devices

Hell on Earth

Entry

Once at the mine entrance, it became immediately evident that it was in the process of being gated or someone had removed the recently gated grill off the entrance. This posed a problem, as the trip was going to be a through trip and i did not particularly want to be greeted by a grill on the exit of the mine, which is at the bottom of the mine, around 150 meters lower than the entrance we were going into. We decided to continue regardless, convincing ourselves that it could be open after all!


Upper Adit entry 240 metre Level


The Mine

At this point, I'm going to let the photos do the talking. I was ill equipped for this voyage, my only other experience of an ironstone mine was in the UK and left my head swimming after encountering and clearly surviving drops to 9% atmospheric oxygen levels. Going into this mine, it was hard to ignore the guides cheerful remarks of "There's a good airflow, I've been before, you won't need a 4 Gas or a helmet either for that matter! Turns out he was correct, i was able to breathe throughout my voyage through the mine. What ensued was one of the best mines I've seen for a long time!


Looking up back up the first incline



Ore hopper



Ruined tub



'Scraper System' on the far right



Ore hopper and flooded level below



Mine plans



Bang Store







Extraction

Once down on the lower adit level, the walk out was via a 2,000 metre long de-watering tunnel with patches of testicle deep water. Trying to push the thought of snakes and leeches gleefully awaiting me in the water to the back of my mind, i rolled up my shorts as far as i could and set off down the level with the others. Half way down the level it suddenly occurred to me that i had forgotten that the exit could well be sealed. After a 6 hour trip, i was quite looking forward to another 'Gin Top', and the thought of the walk back up the inclines, through the mine, did not appeal. Anxiety levels rose from the threat of a return trip through the mine, covered in leeches and bleeding profusely out of snake bites. As we approached the exit, our guide exclaimed "oh for fucks sake", followed by "oh no, it's ok, only one vent is sealed". Exalted, we exited the mine back into tropical humidity and, yep, you guessed it, more rain, to start our wet walk back down the rest of the mountain to the metro station.


A perfect example of how not to explore an ironstone mine - Lower Adit Level


Psychological, leech infested waters


Passion Fruit and 110 Metre level Mine exit


"what, more rain"
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Trip Report - Ma On Shan Mine - Hong Kong - 2018 1 month 3 days ago #33650

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How cool is that?

Totally awesome :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

(It's not unusual for you to turn up at a trip the next morning badly hung over lol)

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction
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Trip Report - Ma On Shan Mine - Hong Kong - 2018 1 month 3 days ago #33651

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Ian wrote:
How cool is that?

Totally awesome :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

(It's not unusual for you to turn up at a trip the next morning badly hung over lol)

Ian
.

And I'll equippeds and wearing the qayest shorts ive ever seen (except on budgie)
Great adventure man :cheer:
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Trip Report - Ma On Shan Mine - Hong Kong - 2018 1 month 3 days ago #33652

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If i had been wearing a caving suit, i would have ploughed straight through the water. Put me in a pair of shorts and i will turn them into hot pants to stop them getting wet, cupping my testicles in my hands, to avoid them being dipped into the water. Odd isn't it!

If any of the club fancy going over or making it part of a holiday in that area, there's plenty more mines on that mountain to have a look at. I just didn't fancy pushing my luck without a 4gas and no proper lid and lamp!


Capture_2018-06-16.jpg


Loads of mines!
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