Govt agrees to issue export licence to clear bauxite stockpile

Suhaila Shahrul Annuar

PUTRAJAYA: The government has agreed to issue an approved permit (AP) or export licence to allow companies to clear the bauxite stockpile in Pahang.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the decision was reached today at a meeting with Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

“A taskforce will be formed to prepare a new standard operating procedure relating to bauxite mining, transport, stockpile management and export,” he said.

“Once the moratorium has been lifted, all quarters including the miners who are given the AP must sign a pledge to comply with all regulations to ensure that the bauxite mining sector in Pahang operates in a sustainable manner.”

The current moratorium which was extended on eight occasions since early 2016 is set to expire on Dec 31.

Xavier said the government was trying to achieve a win-win situation for everyone.

He said the ministry had engaged with industry stakeholders, including Pahang elected representatives on July 30, mining industry players on Thursday and the state government led by the menteri besar today.

“Our engagement with the state government was to get the holistic picture and input as well as views directly from the menteri besar regarding the direction of the bauxite mining and export industry.”

He said the ministry had also conducted a meeting on Aug 28 to coordinate proposals to resolve water supply disruptions in Pahang.

“We have received complaints of water disruption at several places in Pahang, especially the Gebeng industrial area, Raub, Lipis and Triang town.

“The water disruption happens because of the lack of capacity to treat raw water due to high water turbidity, power outage and old reticulation pipes which lead to pipe bursts and leakages,” he said, adding that the short-term solution for the Gebeng industrial area was to install a sheet pile at Sungai Kobat to prevent salt water from coming in during the rainy season and to raise the raw water level during the hot season for the Semambu and Pancing water treatment plants.

“An allocation of RM5.5 million from the Federal Government will be used by the Pahang Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to carry out emergency work and another RM5 million will be used by the private sector.

“The DID will discuss with the water supply division to formulate a long-term solution to build a weir at Sungai Kobat.

“A proposal to upgrade the Triang water treatment plant will be studied to resolve water disruption issues there, especially during festive periods that see a spike in demand.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd