North Taiwan Coal Mines Pt 2: Elephant, Huaxin, and Beigang No2 Mines

Beigang No2 Mine

This photo makes it look flat, but actually this is a very steep and slippery slope.

This mine is located in the Xizhi mountains, near Emerald Lake. The lake itself was created by waste from the mining operations damming the river. It's very easy to find the mining outbuildings (there are several near the Emerald Lake Trail) as they are marked on a map at the trailhead. What is a little harder to get to is the mine entrance. This is beneath the mine buildings in a depression, and is cut into the base of a large cliff. We climbed through the forest to where a stream flows into the depression. A lot of broken brick and old walls suggested this was previously the main way in

One of the outbuildings.

There's a mine entrance in there somewhere.

The mine entrance is tilted at a 30-40 degree angle and clearly a chain railway once headed down the slope into it. The stream also flows into it. As a result the slope is very slippery and the rock is loose. We got as close as possible with the little rope we had, but one slip and it would have been a muddy slide into the mine. With one stream heading in and another running over the entrance the mine looks to be flooded. It also seems to have a lot of debris in the entrance. This mine looks much older and rougher than the others (according to this blog mining here started in 1909), and I doubt the tunnel is in good condition. By the 1930's there were thousands of miners working at this mine and Beigang 1 and 3. Together they contributed a lot to the development of Xizhi. It seems little remains of the other two Beigang mines.

A mock viper and a female Swinhoe's japalura lizard.

The trail around the mine is beautiful and there's a lot of insect and reptile life. During the short walk we caught lizards, and my friend caught a mock viper. This is a small snake which pretends to be a viper, despite not being very venomous. The only way to tell it apart is a small white triangle on its head.

Elephant Mountain Mine and Huaxin Rd Mine

These two mines are similar, though not located near to each other. One is behind Elephant Mountain, and the other is by a pond on Huaxin Road, north of Xizhi. They both have little mining tourist parks outside, though the Elephant mine park is more recent. These mines are unusual in that the main tunnels are easy to access. For some reason (maybe to protect bats) the Elephant mine is unsealed behind a small exhibition. We only went a little way into the tunnel as it was very wet inside.

A Taiwan leaf nosed bat in Huaxin Mine

The mine in Xizhi is right next to Huaxin Road. An attempt to block it has been made, but it was quite easy to bypass. We went further into this mine. There were a lot of large Taiwan leaf-nosed bats. The tunnel is in a much worse condition than the Elephant mine and fairly dangerous. There are several areas where rock has collapsed recently, and a lot of water is leaking in. Any wooden roof supports left are very rotten. We stopped where a large amount of rock had fallen in, and turned back.

The long dark tunnel under Elephant Mountain. The walls are in good condition here. I wonder how far it goes. Right: The much rougher Huaxin mine tunnel.