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6-month trial period for new Bauxite mining SOP

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019

   THE new standard operating procedure (SOP) for bauxite mining in Pahang, which was finalised last month, will be implemented for a six-month trial period, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.

  Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said the SOP would be enforced by the state government and agencies.
  He added that the ministry was studying to expand the SOP nationwide.
  This includes important requirements such as mining site size, transportation methods, stockpile storage and exportation.
  “We will strictly follow the SOP and while anyone can work (by applying for a mining licence) in the industry, the ministry, with the cooperation of the state government, will ensure that those who applied abide by it or the licence will be terminated and necessary actions will be taken.
  “(After the trial period), we will carry out a study on any areas that should be improved.”
  He said this in reply to a supplementary question by Che Alias Hamid (Pas-Kemaman).
  Jayakumar said the requirement included post-mining aspects, with only “washed” ore allowed to be exported.
  “Only ores with over 40 per cent alumina content can be exported and we will ensure that the miners comply with the stringent process,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Nor Azrina Surip (PH-Merbok).
  Later at the Parliament lobby, Jayakumar said the government had yet to approve any mining licences.
  “The applications are being reviewed by the state government. If the operators are willing to abide by the stringent SOP and requirements, the ministry will issue the licence.
  “We expect to issue bauxite mining licences by the end of next month or early January. So far, three companies had shown interest.
  “Only companies with huge capex (capital expenditure) will be able to apply. Some had previously operated (in bauxite mining), while some are new.
  “However, we want to conduct a trial first and have the SOP in full flow, and have selected Gebeng (for the purpose).
  “We will decide (on operators) only after six months. The SOP comprises three parts, namely pre-mining, mining and post-mining.
  “After six months, we will see if there are loopholes that need to be addressed and implement the SOP throughout the country.
  “The six-month trial only commences when the licence is issued,” he said, adding that the SOP also included compliance with transportation of the ore.
  He said Kuantan Port Authority had set a monthly capacity of 600,000 tonnes of bauxite.
  “The amount was set by the port authority. Should it increase the capacity, then we can increase the capacity for production.”
  Bauxite mining was previously halted by a moratorium imposed by the government.
  The government had in March lifted the three-year ban, which was caused by unregulated mining resulting in environmental impact including contaminated water sources.
  The bauxite mining moratorium in Pahang was imposed on Jan 15, 2016 and extended on nine occasions before it was lifted in March.

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