The regulations under which bauxite mining and export will be carried out in Pahang are now ready to be finalized, bringing miners one step closer to resuming bauxite ore extraction activities. Such was the announcement made by Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr. A. Xavier Jayakumar earlier this week.
In a statement released on Saturday, Xavier said the standard operating procedures (SOP) will soon undergo a joint review between his ministry and the Pahang state government and determine a date at which the SOP would go into effect.
“The SOP document will then be uploaded on the ministry’s website for reference by all parties concerned,” explained the minister.
Observers say Xavier’s announcement was in response to criticism from an article published on Thursday in domestic media accusing the ministry of acting too slowly to return the bauxite trade to action.
Xavier continued by saying that the latest draft SOP accounts for the views of the entire spectrum of bauxite stakeholders. The proposed SOP imposes strict conditions on the end-to-end bauxite mining process, from exploration to export, all while ensuring economic progress, environmental responsibility, and the popular well-being.
“The preparation of the document went through a number of processes including the public hearing session on April 14, attended by 519 people and collected 56 verbal and online responses,” concluded Xavier.
The Pahang government enacted a ban on bauxite mining and shipment just days into 2017 in response to widespread complaints of irresponsible bauxite mining practices. Though meant to last for only three months, the ban has been extended several times in the intervening months and years.