Though standard operating procedures (SOP) for bauxite mining have been finalized by regulators from the Malaysian government, a member of Parliament in Pahang is counseling slow going before fully ramping up mining operations in her area.
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh told local media on Friday that a small-scale trial run at a few mines should be conducted first before the government throws open the doors to bauxite mining on a larger scale.
“So far, the SOP is only on paper and we have yet to see it in operation (physically). So, a pilot project is (needed) to review the effectiveness of the SOP,” she opined.
“It is best to start on a small scale first and rectify problems that come along the way including possible pollution before allowing mining activities to resume. The state government should not make hasty decisions and give immediate approval for the sake of gaining profit. Give priority to the people’s safety and well-being.”
Fuziah also urged caution in where to permit bauxite mining, noting the elevated risk of pollution around bodies of water in the province.
“Bauxite mining should be only done at downstream areas. Previously, mining works were conducted upstream which led to river contamination. The runoff from mining sites must not be allowed to flow directly into the water supply,” she said.
Fuziah continued by saying that enforcement of the new SOPs should be a shared burden between state and federal agencies. She also suggested that Kuantan officials meet with the various stakeholders in the bauxite supply chain to explain the SOPs.
Earlier this week Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar released the new set of SOPs for mining in Kuantan, paving the way for resumption of the practice after a 2-1/2 year moratorium on the practice.