Though legal bauxite mining in Malaysia is still several months away, the government says it fully intends to have a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) in place by the time the ban is currently set to expire.
Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told local media on Sunday that his ministry will have the SOP prepared by June. The moratorium is at present scheduled to lapse on the last day of that month, assuming the government does not opt to extend it yet again.
Wan Junaidi indicated that the SOP will be the product of environmental impact assessments carried out by several government agencies. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will also have a say in the final product, he explained.
“The SOP will ensure that bauxite mining and export comply with the set regulations and not cause pollution,” he explained to representatives of domestic media.
“Before it is implemented, we will bring the SOP study results to discuss with the Pahang Government and industry players.”
Bauxite mining has been illegal in Malaysia since the middle of January 2016. The federal government temporarily banned the practice after complaints that irresponsible mining practices were causing significant environmental and health concerns in the western state of Pahang.
Initially slated to last only three months, the government has extended the ban several times, citing the failure of bauxite miners to clear stockpiles of the ore at the port of Kuantan. Prior to the ban, Malaysia was the People’s Republic of China’s most significant supplier of the aluminium precursor.