The International Steam Pages

Lebong Tandai Gold Deposit, Indonesia, 1991

This account by Alan Goode - who also provided the pictures - should be read along with the earlier article by Gerard de Graaf. Two extra pictures at the end were added on 26th October 2012. See also Gerard's 2016 update.

In 1991, the Lebong Tandai mine was owned by PT Lusang Mining, controlled by Dr Jusuf Merukh, who was also a partner of Aberfoyle Resources Ltd in exploration of the surrounding large Contract of Work held by PT Ketaun Mining. The surrounding CoW included two past gold mines of the Dutch era, the major Lebong Donok deposit and the smaller Lebong Sulit deposit, both on the same major structure as Lebong Tandai. These were all epithermal in nature, although Tandai was somewhat different in style to Donok and Sulit. All deposits were epithermal and high grade (approximately 0.5 oz/tonne Au) in nature, with the two larger mines producing over 1 million ounces each, mostly during the Dutch era.

The visit was made by Rod Jones and Alan Goode (Aberfoyle Resources) accompanied by consultant Dick Henley in March 1991, all guests of Dr Merukh. At the time, Alan Goode from Melbourne was President Director of PT Ketaun Mining, with Rod Jones the Exploration Manager based in Jakarta. Dick Henley consulted to Aberfoyle on its exploration in Sumatra.

Apart from the interesting aspects of the mine and associated “village” itself, one of the very unusual aspects of the trip were the modes of travel in getting to this very remote mine in the Sumatran jungle.

1. A normal 4-wheel drive by standard roads along the coast from Bengkulu to Ketaun at the mouth of Sungei (River) Ketaun
2. River transport by motorised canoe up the Ketaun to the river port of Napal Putih
3. Transport by “miniature” train from the river port to the mine site, one of the most fascinating parts of the trip.

Transport to the mine

Typical river transport by motorised canoe from the coastal town of Ketaun to the mini-train terminus on Sungei Ketaun

River port of Napal Putih, terminus of mini-railroad to Lebong Tandai, with typical river transports

Mini narrow gauge diesel passenger train operating between Napal Putih and Lebong Tandai

Old engine once used on the Lebong Tandai railroad

Mini-train crossing railroad bridge near Lebong Tandai

Railroad terminus at Lebong Tandai, with mini fuel tankers in siding

Miners’ shift-change train

Miners’ shift-change train

Two extra pictures from Alan were added on 26th October 2012.

Rob Dickinson