Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment minister Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that a decision on whether the government will once again extend the country’s moratorium on bauxite will be made public after a cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Wan Junaidi said that his ministry will share its findings with the Cabinet on Wednesday. He went on to ask that all parties patiently await the decision. The moratorium is slated to end September 15.
“I do not wish to comment any further, we had a long and lengthy deliberation and discussion over the issue last Thursday,” he said on Monday.
He also said that his ministry would call a news conference after the decision had been reached, and that the decision would represent the opinion of his ministry as well.
The moratorium, enacted on January 15 of this year, was originally intended to last for only three months. However, the moratorium has been extended several more times due to miners’ failure to meet clean-up milestones. The moratorium is the government’s response to local and international outcry after irresponsible mining practices left the Kuantan area’s land and waterways polluted by bauxite ore.
It was instituted by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in January due to rampant pollution from improper mining techniques that turned the waters off Kuantan red due to severe contamination of bauxite. The ban was extended for another three months in April to clear remaining stockpiles of the ore and to ensure that the risk of irresponsible mining methods don’t pollute the country’s rivers, streams, and ports again. Kuantan’s bauxite miners saw the ban extended yet again in July, when the government tacked on another two months to the ban, again citing hundreds of thousands of metric tons of stockpiles that had yet to be cleared.