Bau, Sarawak

Bau is a gold mining town,[1] capital of Bau district in the Kuching Division of Sarawak, Malaysia.[2]

Bau Market
Coordinates: 1°25′0″N 110°0′9″E
Country Malaysia
State Sarawak
  Total884.4 km2 (341.5 sq mi)
  Density70/km2 (180/sq mi)


On 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.[3]

Gold mining

The gold deposits in Bau Township occur in the Jugan Hills in marine sedimentary rocks of late Jurassic to early Cretaceous age, primarily limestone.[4][5] The gold comes from hydrothermal sources activated by local volcanism.[5] 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.[6][7]

Gold began being mined in Bau in the 1840s. It was discovered by Chinese miners from Pangkalan Tebang.[8] After the Chinese uprising by Liu Shan Bang in 1857,[9] the mining operations were gradually taken over by The Borneo Company with the last Chinese syndicate being bought out in 1884.[8] In 1898, The Borneo Company introduced the cyanide process for extracting the gold,[8] 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.[10] But during the Great Depression Chinese miners continued to artisanally mine the deposits.[11] 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.[12] The last mining occurred at the Tai Parit open-pit mine.[13]

In 2002, Preston Resources began exploratory development of the mining leases formerly held by Malaysia's Oriental Peninsula Gold (now Peninsula Gold Ltd.).[1] In 2006, Zedex Minerals purchased a controlling interest in the exploratory leases.[14] Zedex was primarily concerned with determining the extent and richness of the remaining Jugan gold deposits, but it also assayed the old tailings at the Bukit Young Gold Mine site for potential reprocessing.[4] In 2009 Zedex was merged into Olympus Pacific Minerals.[15] As of 2014, the mining rights were held by North Borneo Gold, a joint venture of Besra Gold (aka Olympus Pacific Minerals), Golden Celesta and Gladioli Enterprises, a Malaysian mining group.[6] As of May 2017, the mines have not reopened.


The limestone cliffs in the area support a wide range of endemic flora, including the rare pitcher plant Nepenthes northiana.[16]


Primary school

  • SK Tringgus
  • SK Tembawang
  • SK Sungai Pinang
  • SK Suba Buan
  • SK Stass
  • SK St Teresa (M)
  • SK St Stephen (M)
  • SK St Patrick (M)
  • SK St John (M)
  • SK Skibang
  • SK Siniawan
  • SK Simpang Kuda
  • SK Serumbu
  • SK Serasot
  • SK Serabak
  • SK Senibong
  • SK Segubang
  • SK Segong
  • SK Sebobok
  • SK Puak
  • SK Podam
  • SK Pedaun Bawah
  • SK Opar
  • SK Kampung Bobak/Sejinjang
  • SK Jagoi
  • SK Gumbang
  • SK Grogo
  • SK Buso
  • SK Bau
  • SK Atas
  • SK Apar
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Tondong
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Taiton
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Siniawan
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Sebuku
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Paku
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Musi
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Kranji
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Buso
  • SJK (C) Chung Hua Bau

Secondary schools

  • SMK Paku (S)
  • SMK Lake
  • SMK Bau
  • SMK Singai (open on 25 June 2018 as the 4th secondary school in Bau District)


Local Bus

Route No. Operating Route Operator Remark
2 Kuching-Bau Bau Transport Co
B2 Kuching-Bau CPL
K26 Kuching-Bau-Lundu-Sematan CPL

Attractions and recreational spots

In 2022, Roxy Tasik Biru Resort City was opened to public. It is equipped with a floating bridge, fountain, chalets, a café, and a boat ride service.[17]

Notable people from Bau

  • Pandelela Rinong, 2012 Olympic medallist for diving, 2016 Olympic medallist for diving, Bidayuh girl from Kampung Jugan, Bau.


  1. "Preston buying into Sarawak goldmine" Sydney Morning Herald 16 July 2002;
  2. "Toponymic Guidelines for Map and Other Editors for International Use" (PDF). Malaysian National Committee on Geographical Names. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  3. "Descendants mark Jagoi-Bratak Day." New Straits Times 10 May 2000;
  4. "Zedex Minerals Ltd (ASX:ZDX) Bau Global JORC Resource Now 1.612 M oz Au". ABN Newswire. 5 November 2008. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017.
  5. Sillitoe, Richard H.; Bonham, Harold F. (1990). "Sediment-hosted gold deposits: Distal products of magmatic-hydrothermal systems". Geology. 18 (2): 157–161. Bibcode:1990Geo....18..157S. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1990)018<0157:SHGDDP>2.3.CO;2.
  6. "Bau Gold Project, Sarawak, Malaysia". Mining Technology (Kable). 2014. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015.
  7. Pour, Amin Beiranvand; Hashim, Mazlan (2014). "Structural geology mapping using PALSAR data in the Bau gold mining district, Sarawak, Malaysia". Advances in Space Research. 54 (4): 644–654. Bibcode:2014AdSpR..54..644P. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2014.02.012.
  8. Kaur, Amarjit (February 1995) "The Babbling Brookes: Economic Change in Sarawak 1841-1941" Modern Asian Studies 29(1): pp. 65-109, p.73
  9. Chew, Daniel (1990) Chinese Pioneers on the Sarawak Frontier 1841-1941 Oxford University Press, Singapore, ISBN 0-19-588915-0
  10. Lucas, N. A. (1949) "The Production of Gold in Sarawak" Sarawak Gazette issue of 1 February 1949
  11. Wilford, G. E. (1962) "The Bau Goldfield" Sarawak Gazette issue of 30 April 1962
  12. Staff (2000) "Gold Mining in Sarawak Loses Shine for Now" Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency 10 December 2000
  13. "Olympus Confirms Mineralization Widths of Up to 78 Meters at Bau Central Gold Project". Marketwire. 21 January 2012. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017.
  14. Bromby, Robin (2006) "Finance: Pure Speculation: Burston to test his mettle in magnetite" Weekend Australian 1 July 2006, p. 37
  15. "Bau Feasibility – Stage 1". Besra Gold. January 2014. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017.
  16. Hansen, Eric (October 2001) "Where rocks sing, ants swim, and plants eat animals: finding members of the Nepenthes carnivorous plant family in Borneo" Discover 22(10): pp.60-68;
  17. Chai, William (21 February 2022). "From gold mine to resort". New Sarawak Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
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