Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told local media on Friday that there existed a possibility that illegal bauxite mining was still occurring at Felda Bukit Goh, but he has yet to find conclusive evidence of it.
Wan Junaidi said that he identified several stockpiles of bauxite ore while taking an aerial survey of the area, but he did not witness vehicle movement or activity by heavy equipment around the ore. This leads him to believe that illicit bauxite mining may not be as prevalent as once believed, he said.
“This leads to two possibilities. Either there is there is some illegal mining or the heaps of bauxite were left behind before the moratorium was imposed,” Wan Junaidi opined.
He went on to state that he was not opposed to mining per se, provided that it was done according to the laws in place that are intended to protect the environment.
“Mining creates wealth. Natural resources must be harvested based on international standards and sustainable management,” he explained.
“When we exploit our mineral wealth, we must not pollute the environment.”
The bauxite mining moratorium was extended again last week, which is the fourth extension since its implementation in mid-January. Wan Junaidi said that, despite the fact that 2.95 million metric tons of bauxite ore remains to be cleared, a noticeable improvement has been made in the cleanliness and pollution levels in Pahang since the beginning of the ban.