Malaysia’s bauxite miners will remain idle until the end of 2018, as the government announced earlier this week that the ban on bauxite mining has been extended yet again.
“The moratorium is until December 31, as there is still half a million tonnes of (bauxite) stockpiled at the ports,” declared a spokesman from Malaysia’s Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources.
Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr. Xavier Jayakumar told local media that a significant reason for the extension is the half million metric tons of bauxite ore at Kuantan’s ports that has yet to be shipped.
“The government has to ensure that if the moratorium is lifted, the industry would be operated without posing any problems to the people, economy and the environment,” he elaborated, noting that the moratorium may be extended yet again if the stockpile continues to remain in place.
Xavier continued by saying that the relevant state and federal agencies continue to work together to ensure the necessary steps are taken by all stakeholders in the bauxite trade before the ban is rescinded.
“Some of the preparations are made by strengthening the relevant laws, revising existing SOPs and introducing new guidelines.
“In short, it has to be done in a sustainable way,” he explained.
Xavier said that he would soon be meeting with public and private interests to gather input on a new set of SOP’s for the industry.
Bauxite mining has been illegal since the early days of 2016 when it was stopped in an effort at addressing irresponsible bauxite mining and transportation methods. Initially only intended to run for 6 months, the ban has been extended time and time again, largely due to the stockpiles of bauxite ore that remain at Kuantan’s ports.
According to former natural resources and environment minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, up to 10 million metric tons of the ore still remain to be shipped throughout Kuantan.