Pahang will see no legal bauxite mining for the remainder of 2017, as the moratorium that was set to expire today now runs through December 31.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar made the announcement yesterday, noting that the bauxite stockpile at the port of Kuantan actually increased since the government’s decision in November 2015 to halt mining in the subsequent January.
“Based on the latest survey conducted by the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia in April, we found there was an increase in the bauxite stockpile,” he explained.
“With the extension of the moratorium on bauxite mining and export, we hope the extraction from the existing stockpile can be implemented in a controlled manner and in accordance with the guidelines set by the ministry.”
Wan Junaidi continued by explaining that the ministry’s decision was made in concert with the government of Pahang. In addition, he revealed that 5.8 metric tons of the ore was exported from Kuantan Port and Kemaman Port in Terengganu earlier this month.
“I would also like to emphasise here that the extension of the moratorium has nothing to do with the 14th general election, but restrictions on illegal mining activities carried out on private lands by irresponsible companies causing environmental pollution due to non-compliance with guidelines,” he concluded.
The ban on bauxite mining in Pahang, which was put into place due to concerns that irresponsible mining and storage practices were causing environmental damage, began fifteen days into January of last year. Initially set to run for only six months, the ban has been extended several times over the intervening months.