Belitong was pronounced Billiton by the Dutch that is a private company which commenced the mines including its successors and it dominated to the history of Belitong. The history of Belitong is strongly associated with tin since it was discovered in 1850. The Billiton company was nationalised by Government of Indonesia in 1958.
Croockewit was Dutch mining Engineer and as the exploration pioneer in Belitong in 1850. However, based on his investigation for three months, he concluded that Belitong has no prospect for tin. The next explorers came in June 1851 that led by John Francis Loudon. Loudon and his group has successfully discovered tin to change the Belitong over a century.
In 1860, when the Dutch took over the concession in Belitong, the organization, labor, and technology depended on Chinese immigrants. This condition has mixed the local with Chinese until today.
In 1st January 1924 the Billiton was reorganised to a joint public-private enterprise, NV Gemeenschappelijke Mijnbouwmaatschappij Billiton (GMB) – The Billiton Joint Mining Company that was given to carry out 25 years concessions.
Chinese immigrants came to work in the mining and they began pepper planting that they may bring women to work in the agriculture sector. White Pepper is another premium product from Belitong beside tin.
In 1957, Indonesia’s first president nationalised the Dutch company than the whole management was fully controlled by Government of Indonesia. Since 1993, PT. Timah as successor for GMB cease the operation in Belitong to deal with a low tin price (Heidhues, 1991).