ALOR SETAR, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Menteri Besar Kedah Incorporated (MBI Kedah) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jangka Bakat Minerals Sdn Bhd and China’s Xiamen Tungsten Co Ltd on the exploration, technical assistance, and mining of rare earth elements (REE) in Kedah.
MBI Kedah was represented by its chief executive officer, Muhamad Sobri Osman, Jangka Bakat Minerals by its managing director, Datuk Liana Khalid, and Xiamen Tungsten by its general manager, Liu Wenli at the MoU signing, which was witnessed by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.
Muhammad Sanusi said he was grateful to MBI Kedah, Jangka Bakat Minerals, and Xiamen Tungsten for their agreement to cooperate and make REE mining in Kedah a success.
He said REEs are global strategic resources, and they are also related to regional geopolitics.
“Therefore, as an upcoming REE producer, we will remain neutral and make decisions to benefit Kedah’s economy,” he said in his speech during the signing ceremony.
Muhammad Sanusi said Kedah’s REE deposits are of high quality, contain valuable mineral elements and are a blessing that all parties should appreciate.
He added that based on personal observation, illegal REE production in the state might have been due to the lack of standard operating procedures (SOP) from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change on the mining of these minerals.
“REE are not only illegally mined from several sites in Kedah but also in other states because the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, although there have been discussions, asked us to wait for the SOP on mining. We have yet to receive the SOP.
“Due to the high demand for REE and the high prices, people are unwilling to wait,” he added.
Muhammad Sanusi said the state government has taken the initiative to ensure that REE industry players follow the rules and regulations and that Kedah would benefit from the mining production.
“To ensure that these mining activities would be law-abiding, the various state departments, especially the local authorities, Department of Environment and Forestry Department, will closely monitor and enforce the rules and regulations,” he added.
On Oct 31, 2022, Muhammad Sanusi said the state government had recouped the losses incurred due to illegal REE mining at the Bukit Enggang forest reserve in Sik after issuing two compounds to a Chinese national responsible for the activity.
He revealed that the two compounds, totalling RM630,000, comprising a maximum compound of RM500,000 for illegal REE mining and RM130,00 for trespassing into the forest reserve, were paid on Oct 11, last year.
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