Bauxite mining still on, especially at night

Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment lauded the action by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in detaining nine enforcement personnel of the Pahang Land and Mines Office last Thursday, for an investigation into illegal bauxite mining activities.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture) said bauxite mining is still being carried out in Pahang, especially at night, despite the government having imposed a moratorium to temporarily suspend bauxite mining following the issue on environmental pollution.

He said since the ministry does not have its own enforcement agency, it needs the cooperation of other agencies like the police and the MACC to address the problem.

“At the ministry level, we will monitor and investigate this, and if there are companies with AP (approved permit) involved in illegal bauxite mining, we will revoke their permits,” he told reporters when met after presenting contributions of essential items to local residents in Kuching on Saturday.

The moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang was issued in January last year and has been extended several times, with the latest until Dec 31 this year.

During the duration of the moratorium, the industry is required to empty the bauxite stockpile, create a joint reserve area and set up a cleaning sys- tem for the mineral waste.

Wan Junaidi said although the moratorium has been extended several times, the bauxite stockpile at the mining area is still substantial at an estimated 4.8 million metric tonnes.

He said this showed that the industry is still not fully cooperating, and appearing not to be interested in managing their stockpile, and if this continues, with the illegal mining still going on, the ministry has no choice but to extend the moratorium further. — Bernama