Web
Analytics
Report - - Namtu Lead Smelter, Namtu, Myanmar December 2011 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Namtu Lead Smelter, Namtu, Myanmar December 2011


Moelwyn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I know it’s abroad, but maybe this might be of interest here. It’s a series of photos that I took on 2nd December 2011 of the zinc and lead smelter at Namtu, a town situated in northern Shan State, Myanmar (Burma).

The British colonial period in northern Burma began around 1883 and the Burma Railways line from Mandalay reached Lashio, not far from the Chinese border, in 1903. Construction of the 2 ft (610mm) gauge Burma Mines Railway began from the main line in 1907 and reached the mining area at Tiger Camp, more than 50 miles away, the following year. A 3 mile extension from Tiger Camp to Bawdwin was completed in 1909.

The primary reason of visiting the area was to see what was left of the railway, which was built to carry locally mined silver and lead ore to a smelter in Myanmar, until one was built at Namtu. At the time of my visit, only about 10 miles of line between Namtu and just short of Bawdwin were capable of being used. Steam and diesel locomotives in various states of repair were in the Namtu locomotive shed and our trains during the few days I was there were hauled by Kerr Stuart 0-4-2T No 13 and Bagnall 2-6-2 No 42.

The Namtu Bawdwin Mines were the world's largest source of lead and one of the world's largest sources of silver before the Second World War. In 1911, a smelter was constructed in Namtu. Total production from 1909 through to October 1915 was 66,000 tons of lead and 1,432,000 ounces of silver. The smelter was destroyed Second World War and a new one built afterwards to process lead, silver, zinc and copper from the Bawdwin mines.

There appeared to be no restrictions on entering the plant and no security either, although I was travelling with a small group and we did have a permit to be in that part of northern Myanmar. Based on evidence around the plant, it appeared to have become disused around 2009. A couple of locals were employed to keep the place clean and the hope was that the plant could be brought back into production at some point. Quite a few items of plant were built in UK by manufacturers including Avery, Metropolitan Vickers and Sturtevant, The smelter appeared to be largely intact when the photos were taken during a visit lasting a couple of hours. I could cheerfully have spent the entire day there.

846173


846174


846175


846176


846177


846178


846179


846180


846181


846182


846183


846184


846185


846186


846187


846188


846189


846190


846191


846192


846193


846194


846195


846196


846197
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Yup. Ahreed. That's fantastic. Heavy industry from Burma. Think that's a first for the forum and that Myanmar/Burma has appeared on here. Done a bit in Thailand but never been here.
 

Moelwyn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I know it’s abroad, but maybe this might be of interest here. It’s a series of photos that I took on 2nd December 2011 of the zinc and lead smelter at Namtu, a town situated in northern Shan State, Myanmar (Burma).

The British colonial period in northern Burma began around 1883 and the Burma Railways line from Mandalay reached Lashio, not far from the Chinese border, in 1903. Construction of the 2 ft (610mm) gauge Burma Mines Railway began from the main line in 1907 and reached the mining area at Tiger Camp, more than 50 miles away, the following year. A 3 mile extension from Tiger Camp to Bawdwin was completed in 1909.

The primary reason of visiting the area was to see what was left of the railway, which was built to carry locally mined silver and lead ore to a smelter in Myanmar, until one was built at Namtu. At the time of my visit, only about 10 miles of line between Namtu and just short of Bawdwin were capable of being used. Steam and diesel locomotives in various states of repair were in the Namtu locomotive shed and our trains during the few days I was there were hauled by Kerr Stuart 0-4-2T No 13 and Bagnall 2-6-2 No 42.

The Namtu Bawdwin Mines were the world's largest source of lead and one of the world's largest sources of silver before the Second World War. In 1911, a smelter was constructed in Namtu. Total production from 1909 through to October 1915 was 66,000 tons of lead and 1,432,000 ounces of silver. The smelter was destroyed Second World War and a new one built afterwards to process lead, silver, zinc and copper from the Bawdwin mines.

There appeared to be no restrictions on entering the plant and no security either, although I was travelling with a small group and we did have a permit to be in that part of northern Myanmar. Based on evidence around the plant, it appeared to have become disused around 2009. A couple of locals were employed to keep the place clean and the hope was that the plant could be brought back into production at some point. Quite a few items of plant were built in UK by manufacturers including Avery, Metropolitan Vickers and Sturtevant, The smelter appeared to be largely intact when the photos were taken during a visit lasting a couple of hours. I could cheerfully have spent the entire day there.

View attachment 846173

View attachment 846174

View attachment 846175

View attachment 846176

View attachment 846177

View attachment 846178

View attachment 846179

View attachment 846180

View attachment 846181

View attachment 846182

View attachment 846183

View attachment 846184

View attachment 846185

View attachment 846186

View attachment 846187

View attachment 846188

View attachment 846189

View attachment 846190

View attachment 846191

View attachment 846192

View attachment 846193

View attachment 846194

View attachment 846195

View attachment 846196

View attachment 846197
The first set of photos seem to have gone down fairly well, so here's some more.

The next batch include some pretty evil looking (and smelling) floatation tanks containing variously coloured liquids, from which I kept a respectful distance. I'm pretty sure that they represented something of a health hazard. Actually there were a few parts of the plant to which that applied. In photo No 6 in the first batch, you can see a duct leading up the hillside to a chimney. This was understood to have been constructed to carry lethal fumes and the products of combustion well away from the plant. The nature of those emissions probably accounts for the lack of vegetation up there too. Having been based at NGTE Pyestock (as described elsewhere on here) for a few years, I had come to be quite respectful of industrial facilities.

There are photos in this batch of a couple of cleaners who were sweeping and tidying up, which seemed completely incongruous given the nature of the plant. Apart from stopping briefly to watch us, they were unperturbed by our presence. I doubt they were swamped with many visitors.

There ought to be an abundance of material here for anyone wanting to build an industrial complex on a model railway.

846327


846328


846329


846330


846331


846332


846333


846334


846337


846338


846339


846340


846341


846342


846343


846344


846345


846346


846347


846348


846349


846350


846351


846352


846353
 

Attachments

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Fantastic, those tanks do look extremely hazardous! The women sweeping will never finish the job here, bless them. Thanks for extra pics, superb stuff. :thumb
 

Moelwyn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The first set of photos seem to have gone down fairly well, so here's some more.

The next batch include some pretty evil looking (and smelling) floatation tanks containing variously coloured liquids, from which I kept a respectful distance. I'm pretty sure that they represented something of a health hazard. Actually there were a few parts of the plant to which that applied. In photo No 6 in the first batch, you can see a duct leading up the hillside to a chimney. This was understood to have been constructed to carry lethal fumes and the products of combustion well away from the plant. The nature of those emissions probably accounts for the lack of vegetation up there too. Having been based at NGTE Pyestock (as described elsewhere on here) for a few years, I had come to be quite respectful of industrial facilities.

There are photos in this batch of a couple of cleaners who were sweeping and tidying up, which seemed completely incongruous given the nature of the plant. Apart from stopping briefly to watch us, they were unperturbed by our presence. I doubt they were swamped with many visitors.

There ought to be an abundance of material here for anyone wanting to build an industrial complex on a model railway.

View attachment 846327

View attachment 846328

View attachment 846329

View attachment 846330

View attachment 846331

View attachment 846332

View attachment 846333

View attachment 846334

View attachment 846337

View attachment 846338

View attachment 846339

View attachment 846340

View attachment 846341

View attachment 846342

View attachment 846343

View attachment 846344

View attachment 846345

View attachment 846346

View attachment 846347

View attachment 846348

View attachment 846349

View attachment 846350

View attachment 846351

View attachment 846352

View attachment 846353
Thanks for the comments on here.
The first set of photos seem to have gone down fairly well, so here's some more.

The next batch include some pretty evil looking (and smelling) floatation tanks containing variously coloured liquids, from which I kept a respectful distance. I'm pretty sure that they represented something of a health hazard. Actually there were a few parts of the plant to which that applied. In photo No 6 in the first batch, you can see a duct leading up the hillside to a chimney. This was understood to have been constructed to carry lethal fumes and the products of combustion well away from the plant. The nature of those emissions probably accounts for the lack of vegetation up there too. Having been based at NGTE Pyestock (as described elsewhere on here) for a few years, I had come to be quite respectful of industrial facilities.

There are photos in this batch of a couple of cleaners who were sweeping and tidying up, which seemed completely incongruous given the nature of the plant. Apart from stopping briefly to watch us, they were unperturbed by our presence. I doubt they were swamped with many visitors.

There ought to be an abundance of material here for anyone wanting to build an industrial complex on a model railway.

View attachment 846327

View attachment 846328

View attachment 846329

View attachment 846330

View attachment 846331

View attachment 846332

View attachment 846333

View attachment 846334

View attachment 846337

View attachment 846338

View attachment 846339

View attachment 846340

View attachment 846341

View attachment 846342

View attachment 846343

View attachment 846344

View attachment 846345

View attachment 846346

View attachment 846347

View attachment 846348

View attachment 846349

View attachment 846350

View attachment 846351

View attachment 846352

View attachment 846353
Thanks to those who added some appreciative comments to the photos so far. I was spoilt for choice in terms of what part to take a photo of next while I was in the place - it was like all my Christmases together and I had less than 2 hours there. Anyway, the last few photos below.

The smelter was completely disused but adjacent to the semi-derelict railway yard was the generator plant and substation. That was a real adventure and you could get way too close to live 33kv transformers and conductors. The telephone exchange still in use was rather vintage affair too.

At the mines themselves at Bawdwin was some really nice British built winding gear and another smaller semi-derelict material sorting plant. Most of the work there now seems to be open cast operated by Myanmar Metals, an altogether more modern, commercial, Australian driven operation.

846526


846527


846528


846529


846530


846531


846532


846533


846534


846535


846536


846537


846538


846539


846540
 

synchronoscope

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Incredible survivor! Thanks for posting. Any more pics?! Would be interested in generator plant and locomotives to round off!
 

Top