Transport ministry orders use of covered compactors to avoid spillage and pollution.
BENTONG: Bauxite ore transporters may only user Pakamatic (Paka) type of lorries, or municipal rubbish compactor lorries, after April when the three-month moratorium on bauxite mining ends.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the rule was one of the bauxite transport guidelines by the ministry in order to avoid pollution problems from spillage.
“We have already given clear guidelines to the lorry drivers that only Paka type lorries will be allowed to transport bauxite ore. This is because this type of lorries can transport bauxite without spilling it on the road like the usual lorries used previously,” he told reporters while attending a Chinese New Year event here.
The lorries will only be allowed to run on a specific route to the stockpiling centre, to be determined soon.
“We have also decided not to store the bauxite at Kuantan Port. We do not want the port to be littered with bauxite ore spills,” he said.
“We have asked the Kuantan Port authorities to limit the bauxite amount stored in the port area. For example, if it can only accommodate 1.5 million tonnes, they can only receive that much.”
Bauxite is the main source of aluminium and Malaysia is now the world’s top producer, accounting for nearly half of the supply to China’s massive aluminium industry, the BBC has reported. Annual output of bauxite ore increased from a little over 200,000 tonnes in 2013, to nearly 20 million tonnes last year.
The effects of open strip mining on former plantation land, and the environmental pollution, has caused a public outcry.
Liow, who is MP for Bentong, said the restrictions were to ensure that the port and the surrounding areas are not polluted with bauxite happened in the past few months.
He said the transport guidelines and control measures will be distributed to concerned parties by the Road Transport Department after operations are finalised and streamlined with other government agencies.
“We at the ministry level have prepared clear guidelines on transporting bauxite which will be given to the bauxite mine operators.