SUNGAI LEMBINGby Shahir Omar
Sungai Lembing is a tin mining town in Kuantan District, Pahang, Malaysia. Until the 1860s, Sungai Lembing was a major producer of underground tin. Sungai Lembing town developed in the 1880s when the British set up the tin mining industry, although the history of mining in this area extends much further back. From 1891, the Pahang Consolidated Company Limited, (PCCL), which was under British control, had a 120 -year lease to mine the area. PCCL managed the mine from 1906 until its liquidation in 1986 when world tin prices collapsed. The pit mines were closed in 1986 due to high operational costs and low yields, but during their heyday they were among the largest and deepest in the world.
The total tunnel length is 322 km, with a depth of between 610 m and 700 m. A museum highlighting the tin mining industry was opened in 2003. The museum is housed in an old bungalow once used by the mine manager. The museum houses a collection of mining artifarts. Today the town of Sg Lembing is in decline although it was once the richest town in Pahang, known as El Dorado of the East. In the 1940s about 1400 people worked in the mine. Today many of the wooden shoplots are closed and people are moving away. The town straddles the river, and the main street on the right bank is split by an avenue of majestic trees. At the end, an old wooden building overlooks the padang where games of cricket and other social activities were held.