Bauxite miners still waiting for word on procedures


KUANTAN: Bauxite mining operators and lorry drivers are still confused about the standard procedures to be used after a moratorium on mining and exporting the mineral ends on April 15.

They claimed not to have received any official information nor given a briefing on transporting bauxite.

They are said they were unclear about the use of Pakamatic or rubbish compactor lorries required for transporting bauxite, as announced by transport minister Liow Tiong Lai recently.

Pahang Iron Ore Operators Association president Tengku Zulkifli Tengku Ahmad said he felt that the use of covered Paka lorries such as those used by Alam Flora Sdn Bhd was not practical.

“So, how do you unload the bauxite? There is only a small number of such lorries as not all lorry operators or owners use them. I feel it is better to retain the lorries which are fully covered in the back but tighter control can be imposed such as on the maximum load, and continued enforcement,” he said.

Tengku Zulkifli believed that there was still room for improvement on the part of the federal and state governments as well as the agencies involved, before the moratorium ends.

He said to date, the relevant parties had not called the operators for a briefing on procedures. “What is important now is for all parties to be patient until the guidelines are released,” he said.

Environmental pollution caused by bauxite mining, and spillage during transport of the bauxite ore to the port, led to the Cabinet agreeing to impose a three-month moratorium from Jan 15.

A bauxite lorry operator who only wanted to be known as Yap, 50, said he was still confused about the Paka lorries as he thought they were referring to the fully-covered lorries like those he had been using all this while.

“My lorries are fully covered at the back. The bauxite cannot spill out, unlike those whose wooden parts leave stains on the road,” said Yap who owns 30 lorries.

Bauxite lorry driver Zul Ahmad, 41, hoped the relevant agencies could release the guidelines on bauxite mining immediately.

“Some say we (the lorry operators and drivers) must attend a course, that there are new roads to transport the bauxite, new rules, and the SOP will be released next week before the moratorium ends,” he said.