Though the government is prepared to issue bauxite export licenses (AP) for the first time since bauxite mining was banned in 2016, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr. Xavier Jayakumar says that companies that violated the moratorium can expect to be turned down when they apply.
Xavier continued by noting that his office is aware of such violations of the bauxite ban.
“As the enforcement aspect of illegal mining is under the state government’s jurisdiction, the ministry will work with the Pahang government in addressing the issue and will take firm action by not issuing export licences to any parties that fail to comply with the moratorium.”
The state government will pursue violators under the Pahang State Mineral Enactment should violations occur on government land, explained Xavier.
“If the mining is on own land, additional penalty is liable to be imposed for violating the conditions,” he said.
Xavier said a task force will be established presently to set new standard operating procedures for mining, transporting, stockpiling, and shipping bauxite ore after the ban runs its course and mining begins again.
At that point, Xavier indicated that anyone and everyone involved in bauxite mining will be obligated to sign a Letter of Pledge that will commit them to obey each and every condition placed upon bauxite mining laid down by the government, which it says will insure that the practice is done in a responsible, sustainable manner.
“If any party is found to have violated any conditions set, the government will not hesitate to halt their operations immediately,” warned Xavier.
Bauxite mining was halted just days into 2016 over local concerns regarding pollution by miners in Pahang who were utilizing irresponsible mining methods. Initially slated to run for only 6 months, the ban was extended on several occasions, the latest of which will have it end on December 31.