PUTRAJAYA: The moratorium on bauxite mining has been extended yet again, this time for another two months.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this was because there were still a sizable number of bauxite stockpiles that had yet to be cleared and exported.
“The moratorium deadline, which was supposed to be on July 15, has been changed to Sept 14 because it does not seem like the bauxite stockpile can be cleared soon. This has been agreed by the Cabinet.
“There are still about 5.4 million tonnes of bauxite stockpiles located outside of Kuantan Port, with about 2.3 million tonnes located at the mining sites, 1.8 million tonnes at the Felda areas and 1.3 million located in the Gebeng area.
“The ministry gave out 25 special approved permits (AP) to export 2.46 million tonnes in order to clear out the bauxite stockpiles.
“However, until June 1, only 187,438 tonnes have been exported, even though the Kuantan Port has an export capacity of 1.5 million tonnes and Kemaman Port can do 700,000 tonnes.
“I am not sure why the industry is taking so long to clear out the stockpiles, but if they do not do it by the time moratorium expires, I have no qualms about asking the Government to extend it again.
“This will affect the bauxite industry but if they do not clear it then they only have themselves to blame,” said Dr Wan Junaidi, at a press conference here.
Dr Wan Junaidi also said cleaning works around Kuantan has been satisfactory.
This is the second time the Government had extended the moratorium, which calls for a halt to bauxite mining activities in the state.
It was first imposed on Jan 15 this year and scheduled to end on April 15, but the deadline was then extended to July 15.
During the mining ban, the Government had also imposed several standard operating procedures (SOP), including having an integrated stockpile area, dedicated roads and allowing only fully-covered lorries to transport bauxite.