Moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang won't be extended
Last Update: 18/02/2019
KUANTAN, Feb 18 (Bernama) --- The moratorium on the mining and export of bauxite from Pahang which ends on March 31 will not be extended, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar today.
Following the announcement, all activities on the mining and export of the mineral can be resumed, although this time with a new standard operating procedure (SOP) as well as tighter enforcement of the law.
"The moratorium will not be extended after March 31… I see that there is a strong demand for the bauxite industry in Pahang and the profit derived by the state is also enormous.
“In 2015 alone, the state government recorded a revenue of RM47 million from the payment of royalty, the central government did not receive any portion of the profit, it just gave the approval for the import permit (AP).
“In discussions with all the stakeholders previously, there was nothing at all that stated that we had to stop the bauxite industry in Pahang, whether by local political leaders nor the state government as they all agreed that the industry had strong potentials and should be continued,” he said.
He said this to reporters after making a visit to the bauxite storage areas in the district and Kuantan Port, here today.
At the same time, he said, a total of 435,000 metric tons of the mineral still kept in the storage areas in Kuantan Port and Kemaman Port must be immediately emptied within a month before March 31.
This was because under the new SOP to be introduced soon, he said, only bauxite that had been cleaned would be allowed for export to preserve the environment.
“The ministry, in collaboration with the relevant parties, had prepared a new SOP and I call for the cooperation of everyone concerned, particularly the miners to adhere to the terms and conditions we had specified.
“Any industry player who breached the terms could be imposed the maximum fine of RM500,000 and three months imprisonment if they are found to have trespassed or committed illegal mining according to the Pahang State Mineral Enactment 2001
“I’m going to enforce them so that the industry will follow what we had said, that is important for us to follow, “ he said.
He added that the new SOP was carefully prepared incorporating four important aspects namely bauxite extract management, transportation and enforcement, storage area and management at the ports and the export of bauxite.
Xavier said the aspect that had drawn attention previously was transportation and poor enforcement to the extent that it had caused environmental pollution that led to the implementation of the moratorium on the activity on Jan 15, 2016.
He said that in order to resolve the problem, every miner involved must register with the State Land and Mines Office besides the requirement that only the types of lorries that had been specified would be allowed to transport the mineral from the storage area to the port.
“If the SOP is successfully implemented without problems, we will expand its implementation to the other states that also had bauxite, namely Terengganu and Johor. So far, Terengganu had shown interest (to export bauxite) but the ministry will first discuss with the state government on how to carry out the industry,” he said.
In another development, he said the ministry had been asked by the Cabinet ministers to study areas rich in the mineral for exploration following the high market demand including for tin ore.