Certain bauxite ore miners in Pahang continued to mine in contravention of the continuing bauxite moratorium until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) seized all remaining stockpiles in August. Such was the report of Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob to state legislators on Monday.
Adnan explained that the failure of bauxite miners to obtain Approved Permits (AP) meant that mining, transport, and other activities related to bauxite mining was illegal.
“The issuance of special AP were for higher amounts of bauxite compared to the actual quantity at the stockpiles. This led to unlawful mining and transporting activities in order to match the quantities approved.”
Although mining was declared illegal fifteen days into 2016, Adnan explained that investigations by the Pahang Lands and Mines Office found mining still occurring right up to MACC’s confiscation of the stockpiles late this summer.
He continued by relaying the warning he gave to those miners. A warning, he said, went unheeded, and with dire consequences.
“The bauxite problem is caused by human greed. I remember that when the issue was at its peak, I had called up the operators and warned them that if they did not abide by regulations, the federal government will take over and they will go bankrupt.
“That turned out to be true as many (operators) had ‘gulung tikar’ (gone bankrupt) afterwards.”
He continued by revealing that bauxite miners in the area did not abide by transportation schedules laid down by the mining ministry early in the ban.
“However, with the moratorium (in place), all settled down (cease of bauxite-mining and its related consequences),” Adnan said.
As to whether the state government is planning to fill in the disused bauxite mines, Adnan responded that such issues will fall upon the individual landowners to resolve.
“However, they were not earnest in closing (the mines). Despite giving promises that they would close the mines, no efforts were made despite having been paid deposits (by the mining operators) to do so.”
The bauxite ban is scheduled to expire at the end of December unless extended yet again by the government, though no such plans have yet been made public.