No mining of bauxite yet, even after moratorium ends, says minister

Bauxite for exports in 2016 at the Kuantan Port in Pahang State, prior to the enforcement of the moratorium on its mining and export in the state. File photo courtesy of BERNAMA.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (NNN-BERNAMA) — There will still be no mining and exporting of bauxite in the state of Pahang, even after the moratorium on the activity ends this March 31.

Malaysia’s minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources, Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the directive issued in January 2016 to stop the bauxite mining operations will still be in place until all required conditions are met.

The directive will be revoked only after the relevant parties enforce the standard operating procedures (SOP) in the mining and export of bauxite from Pahang and its sustainability is assured.

The ministry has also taken measures to beef up the SOP which will include tighter conditions encompassing the entire chain of the mining activity, he said during a press conference at Parliament on Wednesday.

The moratorium on bauxite mining was imposed in 2016 following complaints of environmental effects resulting from the mining activities and run-offs from unsecured stockpiles that had contaminated water sources, turning roads, rivers and coastal waters red and impacted local communities.

Dr Xavier said a public hearing has been also scheduled this April 14 with all stakeholders including the residents of the area and environmental organisations.

He said the ministry will issue notices on the public hearing by end of this month.

The hearing will enable the participants to provide their feedback and views on the SOP which will be eventually enforced, he said.

The public can view the new SOP at: www.kats.gov.my this March 31.

— NNN-BERNAMA