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Brooketon Colliery

Excerpt from Wilford (1961): "Brooketon Colliery is situated about 1.5 miles west-northwest of Muara, where there is a safe deep-water anchorage to which the mine was connected by rail. Although its existence had been known for more than 40 years, the coal was mined under European supervision in 1883 by W.C. Cowie, but the output for the first 5 years, mainly from opencasts, was only a few thousand tons a year. In 1888 the mine was leased to Charles Brooke, the second Rajah of Sarawak, and was operated by the Sarawak Government from 1889 to 1924, when annual exports varied between 10,000 and 25,000 tons. The exports included coal from Brooketon Colliery, with small amounts from Buang Tawar. Estimated production during the last 33 years that the mine was in operation totalled some 650,000 tons, including coal used on the mine.

The following information on mining methods was provided by J. W. Evans, who was living in Labuan until 1965 and had been engineer on the mine when it closed in 1924. All the coal was mined by opencast methods until the removal of the overburden became prohibitively expensive and underground mining had to be introduced. Adits were driven along the almost vertical seams and connected to the surface by drifts and shafts. In 1909 only about 10 percent of the coal in the seams could be extracted as large coal barriers had to be left to prevent flooding and the spread of fires."

Brooketon Colliery was closed down in 1924 because of heavy financial losses mainly caused by continuously decreasing coal prices in the world economic recession.

Map from Wilford, 1961

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