Pahang govt to determine date to resume bauxite operations

Bauxite mining activities caused several districts around Kuantan to be enveloped in red dust, earning it the nickname ‘Planet Mars’, while its rivers turned red. (Bernama pic)

TEMERLOH: The date to resume bauxite mining in Pahang would be decided by the state government, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

He said his ministry had prepared new standard operating procedures (SOP) on mining and export of bauxite for those involved in such activities to comply with.

“Those who want to be involved in bauxite mining can apply for a licence from the state government with approval subject to the compliance of the SOP.

“If all operators can meet the SOP, they can start operations when the state government decides on the matter,” he told a media conference after launching the 2019 World Elephant Day celebration at Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre here today.

Also present were the Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department (Perhilitan) director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim and Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (EXIM Bank) chairman Feizal Mustapha.

Xavier also stressed that the most important aspect in bauxite mining is compliance with the SOP which has been finalised by the Pahang state government to avoid the recurrence of pollution from the activity.

Bauxite mining in Pahang was halted from Jan 15, 2016 following complaints from residents on air pollution and dangers posed by lorries transporting bauxite.

Bauxite mining allegedly caused several districts around Kuantan to be enveloped in red dust, earning it the nickname “Planet Mars”. The dust also turned rivers in Kuantan red.

Xavier said the new SOP on bauxite had been finalised and was effective immediately after a special meeting with Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail in the federal capital on Thursday.