The official ban on bauxite mining in Malaysia will enter its second year later next month after the country’s government made the decision to extend the ban another six months on Sunday.
The moratorium, which was begun fifteen days into 2016, had been set to expire with the end of the year on Sunday. However, per an announcement from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Malaysia’s Cabinet opted for yet another extension after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) announced the lifting of the seizure order over the bauxite ore stockpiles in Pahang.
“On Dec 21, the MACC announced that it would withdraw its seizure order on the estimated 10 million tonnes of bauxite, after the ministry and the Minerals and Geoscience Department as well as the state government agreed to introduce new rules to crack down on illegal mining of bauxite.”
The statement went on to specify new parameters to quell illegal bauxite mining, including exhaustive checks on all applications for approved permits (AP) for bauxite ore mining. New inquiries into locations and amounts of the stockpile to be shipped will be made, and exports of bauxite ore will be carried out according to approvals by the state government and technical analyses by the Department of Mineral and Geoscience (JMG).
In addition, amendments to the process of exporting bauxite in the Mineral Development (Licensing) Regulations 2016 will be made. However, the precise nature of those amendments was not made clear in domestic media’s reporting on the subject.
The statement also revealed that applications for bauxite export will be entertained now that the seizure order has been lifted. However, such applications will only be approved for bauxite in Kuantan Port, Pahang, and Kemaman, Terengganu, and for firms that have paid royalties to the state government but have not exported bauxite to date. Also, bauxite needed for construction of certain government building projects is expected to be released as well.