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The iron content of Bukit Besi's iron ore is more than 70%, Malaysia's highest known grade of iron ore, making it a very high grade and sought after iron ore. The iron ore reserve was discovered by the British during the colonial era. More than 90% of Bukit Besi's iron ore reserves have already been mined in the colonial period by the United Kingdom and Japan in the 1900s.
It is estimated that roughly 50 million metric tonnes of iron ore deposits remain as of today. Recent years have seen the Terengganu state government awarding iron ore mining concessions to Chinese companies such as Eastern Steel and Shougang Steel whom together with their local Malaysian partners will mine the remaining iron ore reserves in Bukit Besi over the span of 25 years, providing a new lease of economic opportunities for locals in the area.
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