No bauxite mining in Kuantan without SOP, says natural resource minister

Layers of red dust cover the road and lorries entering a bauxite collection centre in Kuantan Port. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Layers of red dust cover the road and lorries entering a bauxite collection centre in Kuantan Port. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Bauxite mining activities in Kuantan, Pahang will not be allowed to continue after the moratorium is lifted on end of this month, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said today.

He explained that mining can only resume after the prohibition order issued in January this year, has been officially retracted as stipulated in the Mineral Development Act 1994.

“I would like to stress the orders to stop all mining operations would be retracted only after all relevant parties are prepared to carry out and enforce the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for mining and exporting Bauxite in Pahang.

“This is to ensure all mining activities are carried out in a sustainable way,” he told a press conference here.

This was in response to grouses expressed by residents of Kuantan following the lifting of the moratorium.

Bauxite mining in Pahang has created uneasiness over the past few years among the people, as the previously unregulated mining activity had resulted in red dust and residue blanketing several areas in the state, triggering concerns over potential health hazards.

Jayakumar today said his ministry has also been tasked with reviewing the SOPs concerning bauxite mining, to ensure stricter regulations before, during, and after mining works.

He said this includes plans for mining site recovery, logistics implementation, and stockpile management of the minerals.

Jayakumar said a notice will be sent out on March 31 notifying all relevant parties, stakeholders, NGOs, and local residents of dialogue sessions set to be held with the ministry on April 14 this year on the potential SOPs.

“The dialogue session will be held to get the views and opinions of the public concerning SOPs that is expected to be enforced as a ruling under the Environmental Quality Act 1974,” he said.

Jayakumar added that finalised SOPs would be made available on his ministry’s website for public viewing beginning March 31.

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