PETALING JAYA: The minerals and geoscience department has found 16.1 million tonnes of non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) in Malaysia with a market value of RM809.6 billion.
In a written parliamentary reply to Che Alias Hamid (PN-Kemaman), natural resources, environment and climate change minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the government had identified a few states with high rare earth content.
“The department has identified 29 areas with strategic potential for NR-REE in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.
“Although Malaysia has the potential to become a rare earths producing country, the ministry is committed to ensuring that this industry is developed responsibly and sustainably,” said Nik Nazmi, adding that his ministry had come up with an NR-REE mining SOP.
Rare earths mining activities are currently prohibited in permanent forest reserves, protected reserves and environmentally sensitive areas, he added.
590 contractors barred from joining govt projects
Meanwhile, works minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said Putrajaya had suspended 590 contractors from registering for government projects, including 356 who were suspended for not completing their projects.
Replying to Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu), Nanta said the remaining 234 contractors had been found to have falsified documents and withdrawn themselves after the contract had been awarded or before tender results were out.