KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 ― Bauxite mining is still ongoing in Pahang despite Putrajaya’s order to suspend the activity from January 2016.
Malay daily Berita Harian said its checks in Kuantan for over a week showed the illegal activity taking place, albeit discreetly.
It said that bauxite deposits at the time when the moratorium was imposed was only 5.4 million tonnes, but the amount of mauxite that has been exported from ports in Kuantan and Terengganu since then up until June has been 5.8 million tonnes, which is higher that the reserve deposits.
The report quoted a local trader as saying that the bauxite mining had “never stopped” despite the moratorium.
Instead, mining went on as usual, though the lorries were “washed” before they enter the highways to avoid being noticed as carrying bauxite.
The Pahang government secretary Datuk Seri Muhammad Safian Ismail was reported denying new mining taking place and attributing the activity to miners clearing up and transporting their mined bauxite reserves.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar reportedly said that Putrajaya will form a special task force to oversee the effectiveness of the moratorium.
Intense bauxite mining in Pahang previously raised alarm among authorities regarding its effect on the surrounding environment and also health of those who lived nearby, leading to the moratorium.
The rivers in Kuantan and the surrounding areas turned red due to the pollution from bauxite mining previously, while people in the surrounding areas reported illnesses.
source : Malay Mail Online