KUALA LUMPUR: Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar today assured that the cyanide used by three gold mining companies in Malaysia does not cause any health problems such as cancer or skin diseases.
He said the cyanide used at the mining ponds had no impact on the air or the nearby environment.
“There are strict rules. Cyanide is kept in ponds. It is expensive and it is reused by the miners. There is also strict enforcement,” he said during question time at the Dewan Rakyat.
Xavier was replying to Wong Tack (PH-Bentong) who asked the ministry to state its stand on the use of cyanide in gold mining and whether it could be banned.
To a question from Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN-Lipis) on complaints that gold mining operations in Raub had caused skin problems among the residents of Bukit Koman, Xavier said there was no connection between the mining operations and skin problems.
“Scientifically, there’s no proof of cancer. There is no literature to state that,” he said, adding that the ministry had issued licences to the miners and that the water kept in the ponds was stagnant with no leakage.
Xavier added that cyanide was used as a re-agent to separate gold from hard rock in gold mining.
Even at the international level, he said, gold miners used cyanide and they all followed international standards under a Cyanide Code.