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Moratorium Could Hike Sluggish Bauxite Prices

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KUANTAN – The decision of the government to impose a moratorium on bauxite mining here could trigger a rise in market price of the mineral after experiencing falling prices in the past five months.

Pahang Iron Ore Operators Association chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zulkifli Tengku Ahmad said the huge stockpiles of the mineral in the international market caused the price of bauxite to fall from USD29 per tonne to USD23.

“It looks like the moratorium has its positive and negative impacts on mining operators.

“On the positive aspect, we could see a rise in the price of bauxite and miners need not worry as the moratorium is only for three months and bauxite would not get spoilt,” he said.

He was speaking to Bernama on the three-month moratorium on bauxite mining following worsening environmental pollution.

Apart from that, the temporary halt could also lower the high charges borned by bauxite operators.

This was because lorry operators had been taking advantage of the high demand by charging higher rates.

“In the last five months, bauxite operators have produced more than one million tonnes of the mineral monthly compared to only 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes earlier.

“This resulted in lorry operators charging as much as RM16 per tonne to transport bauxite from Bukit Goh to Kuantan Port compared to only RM8 in March last year,” he said.

He said the association’s bauxite mining members had also been told from the onset to comply with regulations set by the authorities.

MEANWHILE, Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd (KPC) reported no increase in the delivery of bauxite to the port today, one day after the announcement of a moratorium on bauxite mining.

Its general manager Datuk Azahari Mohammad Yusof said the port operation today was as usual without any panic delivery to meet the deadline of the moratorium on Jan 15.

“The panic delivery did not occur as the ships to export bauxite needed to be booked at least one week before the delivery.

“So it is not possible for them to get the ships to collect the bauxite as entrance into the wharf is according to queue.

“If it takes too long at the dock, KPC would impose penalty on the bauxite operators,” he told Bernama when contact here today. – BERNAMA

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