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Trip Planner Asia  /  Malaysia  /  Sarawak  /  Bau


Caves · Bodies of Water
Bau is a gold mining town in the Kuching Division of Sarawak, Malaysia.HistoryOn 1 May 1837, the Skrang Ibans invaded the Jagoi-Bratak Bidayuh settlement on top of Bratak Peak, killing over 2,000 Jagoi-Bratak Bidayuh men and taking 1,000 women captive. Panglima Kulow, head of Jagoi-Bratak Bidayuh community, and a handful of his followers survived the massacre. In 1841 James Brooke, who was then the newly installed White Rajah of Sarawak, was able to rescue some of the women taken captive. Each year on 1 May, descendants of the survivors of the 1837 massacre hold Jagoi-Bratak Day on top of Bratak Peak in Bau in memory of their ancestors. A memorial stone was erected on 1 May 1988, to mark the day.Gold miningThe gold deposits in Bau Township occur in the Jugan Hills in marine sedimentary rocks of late Jurassic to early Cretaceous age, primarily limestone. The gold comes from hydrothermal sources activated by local volcanism. The gold is found in four distinct configurations: disseminated throughout the mineralized sediments; as silica replacement; in breccias having magno-calcite quartz veining; and occasionally as porphyritic skarns.Gold began being mined in Bau in the 1840s. It was discovered by Chinese miners from Pangkalan Tebang. After the Chinese uprising by Liu Shan Bang in 1857, the mining operations were gradually taken over by The Borneo Company with the last Chinese syndicate being bought out in 1884. In 1898, The Borneo Company introduced the cyanide process for extracting the gold, which led to increased environmental pollution. The mines were closed in 1921 because most of the minerals, easily reachable by existing techniques, had been removed. But during the Great Depression Chinese miners continued to artisanally mine the deposits. The mines were reopened in the late 1970s when world gold prices soared, but were closed down again in 1996 when the Asian financial crisis started. The last mining occurred at the Tai Parit open-pit mine.
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