Quarries of Pulau Ubin
Granite had economic value to Singapore and was used in the construction of the early public housing and roads on the mainland in the 1970s. It was also used in the construction of the Causeway, Istana, and Raffles Lighthouse. The Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca Island, the oldest of four lighthouses in Singapore waters, was also built with the granite mined from Pulau Ubin.
All the quarries here are inactive now. Mined to around 40m below sea level, these deep quarries have since been improved upon and turned into scenic viewpoints and habitats for biodiversity. The six quarries in Pulau Ubin are Balai Quarry, Kekek Quarry, Ketam Quarry, Pekan Quarry, Petai Quarry and Ubin Quarry.
Pekan Quarry was previously known as Ho Man Choo Quarry but was renamed to reflect its proximity to the main village (“pekan” is Malay for “town”) of Pulau Ubin. The site had two quarry pits that “merged” into one as the pits filled up with rainwater. The water at Pekan Quarry overflows at a drainage point that leads to the sea. A look-out point was provided in 2007 to enable visitors to enjoy scenic views of the quarry. This has been very well received by visitors who often stop here to take photos.
Pekan Quarry is today a habitat for herons. As part of the habitat enhancement programme, floating wetlands, which will provide nesting and roosting sites, will be installed.
Formerly known as Aik Hwa Quarry, the company operated from 1964 to 1999. It employed more than 100 workers, most of them residents of the island. In the 1990s, the company was supplying Singapore with 160 to 180 tons of granite every month, or 30 to 40 percent of Singapore’s granite demand for construction works.
The quarry was closed in May 1999 and many of the company’s former employees retired and left the island. Those who remained on the island became fishermen or farmers or operated shops to cater to the growing number of visitors to the island.
This was the last granite quarry to be closed on the island.