An end to the almost three-year long ban on bauxite ore mining in Pahang may be in sight, as politicians and regulators revealed to industry leaders that it is finalizing a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) to put into place once the ban ends.
LLT Group (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Abdul told domestic media earlier this week that it has intensified calls upon the state and federal governments to review a proposed SOP it submitted previously.
“The state government and mining association had compiled a set of SOP and we are waiting for the feedback from the government,” he explained.
“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.”
Abdul Rahim spoke shortly after Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail visited two remaining bauxite stockpiles in Kuantan on Monday.
“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 elaborated.
Abdul Rahim continued by saying that every mining company will be mandated to have a washing bay on site in order to keep bauxite dust deposited on the roads to a minimum.
“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.
An end to the bauxite mining moratorium would be beneficial to all parties, as the resumption of the practice will also allow the state to again collect bauxite royalties.
“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,” said Abdul Rahim.
“Since the moratorium was imposed, the mining companies have also been suffering losses as the excavators and machinery have been left unattended.”
Wan Rosdy will soon meet in Kuala Lumpur with Water, Land and Natural Resources minister Dr. Xavier Jeyakumar to discuss the situation before Xavier travels to Pahang to meet with bauxite industry stakeholders.