Moratorium on bauxite mining till December 31

Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the Cabinet has agreed that the moratorium on bauxite will be continued till 31st December 2016. — Reuters pic
Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the Cabinet has agreed that the moratorium on bauxite will be continued till 31st December 2016. — Reuters pic

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PUTRAJAYA, Sept 7 — The government has extended the moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang for the third time, until the end of the year, as a huge volume of the mineral has yet to be exported.

In a press conference here today, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that despite 38 approved permits (APs) being issued to mining companies to clear the 5.4 million metric tonnes of bauxite stockpile, only 1.27 million metric tonnes of bauxite has been exported, leaving a whopping 4.13 million tonnes still awaiting clearance.

“The Cabinet has agreed that the moratorium on bauxite will be continued till 31st December 2016.

“To date, we still have 4.13 million metric tonnes which have yet to be exported, though we gave out 38 APs which can enable 3.76 million metric tonnes of bauxite to be exported.

“But most unfortunately, only 1.27 million metric tonnes was exported,” he told reporters.

The moratorium was first announced for three months beginning January 15 and was then extended from April 15 till July 15. It was again extended for another three months till September 15, before the latest announcement today.

Wan Junaidi said that should the stockpile not be cleared by December 31, he is mulling a six-month moratorium extension, as opposed to the current two to three months’ period.

“If there are people outside there, the industry people or whoever, any companies or even ports claiming they are affected by the absence of bauxite business activities, it is not the ministry’s fault nor the fault of the state government. This is solely the fault of the industry people who, after getting their APs, did not move their export business,” Wan Junaidi said.

“This is just like when we give people AP to sell cars. If they don’t sell the cars, we cannot take action because they didn’t sell, we just stop their AP. If they do not sell then they won’t get money, so we cannot force,” he said when asked if the ministry is mulling any penalties against bauxite mining companies which do not clear their stock.

“I sometimes ask myself that too. You need to ask the industry people. I can’t answer that,” he replied when asked as to the cause for the slow export activities of the mineral.

Wan Junaidi said that to enable the bauxite pile to be cleared, his ministry would not openly issue any more APs and would limit the number of companies receiving the special permit, so as to ease enforcement and monitoring activities.

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