SOP for rare earth mining underway

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ FILE PIX 

THE Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) is preparing the standard operating procedure (SOP) for non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) to ensure sustainable mining activities.

Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah told the Dewan Rakyat today that the SOP includes the overall activities in the mineral mining and waste management, progressive mining site closure as well as manufacturing processes.

“The SOP is supported by relevant legislation and the full compliance to the SOP is the main condition for companies to start any NR-REE mining. However, this does not mean the government is ready to allow NR-REE mining,” he said.

He was responding to a query by Fuziah Salleh (Pakatan Harapan-Kuantan) on the decision by the National Land Council regarding the approval to explore and extract REE in Kedah and other places nationwide.

“For example, the government will not allow any REE mining activities, especially in forest reserves, without any technical evaluation and approval to avoid pollution that could affect the environment, water resources and community health,” Shamsul Anuar said.

He added that the National Mineral Council (MMN), which has been recently reactivated, will evaluate the SOP for NR-REE, of which the discussion will involve the state government and relevant ministries.

Recently, a KL-based company received an approval permit to explore and extract rare earth elements (REE) in Kedah, of which the project is estimated to value at RM62 billion