Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quarried Landscapes

The hills of Simpang Pulai, awaiting a time when it all gone.

The hills of Simpang Pulai, Ipoh as seen from the North South highway

Simpang Pulai just outside Ipoh is a beautiful place even with is karst landscapes of carved out mountains and lime ponds saturated that it turned green.

The dominant  industry here for the last 50 years has been quarrying the vast amount of limestone hills here extracted initially for roads, cement  and the construction industry.

Now it is quarried more for its calcium carbonate powder or CCP used in a wide variety of industries.

The Kinta Valley limestone consists largely of calcite which is white in colour. Even though it is tinged with a touch of grey it has no effect on demand.

White limestone is used in a wide range of industries such as to whiten paper, in plastics as a filler and a multitude of other uses which include latex gloves, skin whitening and toothpaste.

The whole of the Kinta Valley is underlain with limestone present in the form of hills above ground and under the ground stretching from Kampar to Tanjung Tualang in the south, Chemor and Kanthan to the north and Simpang Pulai to the east.

The early limestone quarry owners 30 years ago applied for a portion of a hill. Sometimes a hill would be owned by three quarries.

The owners would carry out blasting on their side of the hill. When they had exhausted the lease they would leave a boundary between them scarring the landscape leaving the ‘scars’ behind.

Multi-national now practice top-down quarry operations until a time there is no hill left.
In recent years the interest of multi-national companies in Simpang Pulai saw the introduction of top down quarry operations. This was possible by their purchase of the entire hill but which will see the loss of the entire HILL…eventually.

A scarred hill left behind.
Then we shall witness a new landscape …..BARRENESS….. Time will tell.