According to an interview in domestic media, Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd (KPC) says that it is prepared to begin facilitating bauxite ore shipments in the event that the moratorium on bauxite mining is allowed to expire at the end of the month.
“KPC has spent a lot of money on improving facilities to ensure the situation does not go back to what it was,” explained KPC chief executive officer Datuk Khasbullah A. Kadir on Saturday.
“We have four washing bays compared to one previously. We have adhered to government guidelines on bauxite stockpiling sites and transport at the port,” he continued.
“We cleared our stockpiles in the first three months after the moratorium was imposed. Anyone who comes to the port can see the difference compared with early this year. Now we are waiting for directions from the government,” said Khasbullah.
He went on to explain that the shipments occurring at the present time were shipments of bauxite from other locations that are still being cleared.
“The shipments are carried out under approval permits issued by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry with a limit of between 300,000 and 400,000 tonnes per month,” he said, explaining further that the volumes of bauxite passing through the port may increase when mining operations return to their usual pre-ban levels.
“Before the moratorium was imposed, we handled between 3.4 and 3.6 million tonnes of bauxite per month,” said Khasbullah.
He closed by saying that there were still tests that needed to be carried out to determine exactly what sorts of volumes the port can handle without negatively impacting the environment.
The government imposed a moratorium on bauxite mining fifteen days into the year in response to environmental degradation that occurred due to irresponsible mining practices. Initially only scheduled to run to mid-April, the ban was extended several times due to problems in clearing out the vast stockpile of the ore at Kuantan’s ports.