The Malaysian government released standard operating procedures (SOP) for bauxite mining and export in Pahang yesterday, which the government will begin enforcing with immediate effect.
Commenting to domestic media, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr. A. Xavier Jayakumar said the guidelines are the product of consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including academics, non-government organizations, and commercial interests.
The guidelines were produced with a view to promote sustainable mining activities, particularly to insure protection of the environment and residents of the area, he said.
“We took into account all the points raised by stakeholders when formulating the SOP, which imposed stringent requirements on the entire chain (involving bauxite mining activities) from pre-mining, during and post-mining processes,” Minister Jayakumar said after a meeting with Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.
Jayakumar said the ministry will work side-by-side with the Pahang government to guarantee sustainable bauxite mining operations and to help conduct enforcement and monitoring.
“We have taken into account the points put forth by them (Kuantan Port Authority) and as well as issues raised by the Pahang government,” Jayakumar elaborated. “We have come to an understanding and we have solved them (all issues).”
At present, the Kuantan Port Authority has limited capacity to 600 thousand metric tons per month, said Jayakumar. The smallest mining lease to be granted is for 20 hectares, though multiple tracts may be combined to reach that figure if necessary.
The mining minister said that the new SOP is likely to be used as a blueprint for mining rules in other areas with certain modifications.
“Though the SOP was formulated for the state of Pahang, the ministry is mulling to expand its use throughout the country through more general documents that will maintain important requirements such as mining site size, transportation methods, stockpile storage, exportation and others,” he concluded.