Bauxite miners in Pahang are significantly less than happy about the latest extension in the government’s mining ban in the province, according to interviews conducted by local media outlets. The latest extension is the second such from the government, which extends the ban until mid-September.
Bukit Goh Bauxite Issues Committee chairman Datuk Dr. Abd Wahid Abd Manap says miners have been accused of failing to clear bauxite reserves despite the fact that the government has not issued licenses sufficient to make that happen.
“We have to abide by the moratorium extension ordered by the Cabinet. But we are upset that the reason for it has not been made clear,” explained Dr. Abd Wahid. “The minister said it is the operators’ fault for not clearing the stockpiles but we risk getting caught by the authorities because we do not have a mining license. Even if the Government grants us an approved permit (AP), we still cannot transport the ore to the port without a mining license.”
Dr. Abd Wahid went on to say that there is still around 1.8 million metric tons stockpiled in Felda Bukit Goh alone.
“We propose that the state government give our committee a permit to transport the ore to the port and an AP be granted for us to export,” he said. “Just a single special permit for our committee is enough as it will be easier for us to coordinate and ensure the transportation proceeds smoothly.”
“We have about 300 lorries ready to move the ore and we can add more if needed,” said Dr. Abd Wahid. He went on to say that the stockpiles could be cleared within two months if the government allowed it.
“We have already paid the land owners and spent a lot of money on machinery and now we are just suffering losses every day,” he concluded.