The Pantai Remis Landslide

Sep 9, 2021 0 comments

Tin mining is one of the oldest industries in Malaysia, having been mined for centuries along the river banks. These mines were small and their methods primitive. Then in the early 1800s, large tin deposits were discovered in the Peninsula’s west coast states of Perak and Selangor, and the industry developed into one of the major contributor to the Malaysian economy. At one point, Malaysia was the world's largest tin producer and supplied more than half of the world's tin until the mid-1980 when the prices of tin fell by as much as 50 percent and the industry collapsed.

Tin mines at Kampar in Ipoh, Malaysia. circa 1910. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As the material became scarce, mining companies began digging wherever they can and at whatever the risk. In Perak, near Pantai Remis, one mining company dug too close to the sea, resulting in a cataclysmic landslide as the retaining walls holding back the Indian Ocean collapsed and seawaters poured into the mine. Hours before the landslide, the owner of the mining company noticed a leak and ordered the whole area to be evacuated. This decision saved countless lives.

The collapsed of the mine and its subsequent flooding on 21 October 1993 was captured on film. Yee rang, who uploaded the video to YouTube in 2007, wrote:

That year, I received a call by the owner of a tin mine. He said that his mine, which had been running for a few decades, was about to collapse. I rushed to the scene with my video camera and waited for a few hours. Finally, I took this valuable footage. Although the footage lasted only a few minutes, it is horribly exciting enough. I hope that this video can let you all appreciate the consequence of ruining our environment.

Despite the poor footage, the video has been described as one of the best landslide video that has been ever recorded. Later, an upscaled version of the video became available that greatly improved the quality of the original. Here is the video.

After the sea took the mine, it created a new cove that is still visible on Google Earth.


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