Bauxite mining to resume operations in 2019?

T N Alagesh

KUANTAN: If everything falls into place, the bauxite mining activities in the state capital is expected to be back in business next year.

The current moratorium which was extended on eight occasions since early 2016 is set to expire on Dec 31, and mining operators are keeping their fingers crossed hoping for a favorable outcome from the government.

LLT Group (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Abdul, said mining operators in Pahang have urged the state government to discuss with the federal government to bring the suspension to an end, and allow mining activities to resume after the current moratorium ends on Dec 31.

LLT Group, which is among the 20 mining companies registered under the Pahang Mineral Operators Association, said a set of standard operating procedure (SOP) for bauxite mining activities in Pahang have been handed to the federal government.

“The state government and mining association had compiled a set of SOP and we are waiting for the feedback from the government.

The main concern is to mitigate environmental issues arising from bauxite mining and the new SOP will ensure that all the mineral are gathered at one main stockpile centre near the port.

“There will be no bauxite stockpile inside Kuantan Port as it will contaminate the surrounding area and sea water. Instead, all the mining operators will only be allowed to store the mineral at a 22.25 ha site with the capability of accommodating some two million tonnes of bauxite,” he told reporters here after Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail visited Wangsamakmur Corp (M) Sdn Bhd stockpile site and opened the WM Geolab(M)Sdn Bhd in Gebeng here today.

He said each mining company is required to have their own washing bays at the site to ensure the lorries ferrying the mineral will not pollute the road when they travel to the stockpile site.

“We cannot compromise with pollution and dust so companies involved in mining activities have to be responsible. Enforcement officers from the Land and Mines Office will be also be stationed to ensure companies adhere to the rules or regulations or else they will face action,” he said.

Abdul Rahim said lifting the moratorium on bauxite mining activities will certainly create a win-win situation which will benefit the operators, state and also federal government.

He said due to the suspension, the state government lost on the bauxite royalty while the federal government cannot impose any export duty.

“The state government charge a royalty of RM8 for one tonne of bauxite and miners export millions of tonnes. In fact there are still many areas which has yet to be dug for the mineral.

“Since the moratorium was imposed, the mining companies have also been suffering losses as the excavators and machinery have been left unattended,” he said.

It is learnt that during the visit, Wan Rosdy was briefed on the mining activities, various types of mineral grades, new SOP and efforts taken to ensure a systemised mining operation until the mineral is loaded onto the ship for export.

Wan Rosdy is scheduled to meet Water, Land and Natural Resources minister Dr Xavier Jeyakumar to discuss about the future of the industry in Kuala Lumpur soon before Dr. Xavier holds a a meeting with the industry stakeholders in Pahang. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd