Bauxite mining moratorium until March 31, 2017: Wan Junaidi

23 Dec 2016 / 17:45 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The moratorium period for bauxite mining in Kuantan, Pahang which should have ended on Dec 31, has been extended for three more months to March 31.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the fourth extension of the moratorium was agreed to by Cabinet yesterday to enable 2.95 million tonnes of bauxite stockpiles to be taken out.
He told a media conference after the ministry's monthly meeting here today that he hoped the extension would enable the emptying of the existing stockpiles to be implemented in a controlled manner.
"The process to empty the bauxite stockpiles, which are mostly in the Felda Bukit Goh area, within the stipulated period failed because the entrepreneurship were incapable of complying with the conditions to shift the bauxite to the Kuantan Port," he said.
On Jan 15, Wan Junaidi announced the decision of the Cabinet to implement the moratorium on bauxite mining in Kuantan, and to date, the moratorium had been extended three times before being scheduled to end this year.
According to Wan Junaidi, the Kuantan Port Consortium (KPC) had also carried out comprehensive improvements of the facilities at the Kuantan Port to comply with the bauxite exporting activities.
After 11 months of the moratorium being in force, numerous improvements were implemented including the construction of a roofed transit for bauxite stock, two filter cleaning facilities, orderly discharge berth method and good drainage, he said.
"Since the moratorium period was implemented, we have exported 5.2 million metric tonnes of bauxite. There was a five million-tonne bauxite stockpile before the moratorium started," he said.
Although the bauxite issue would not affect the 2017 Visit Pahang programme, Wan Junaidi said: "The ministry will take out the bauxite in stages, namely, asking any company which can comply with all the ministry's conditions to take out the bauxite, if any.
"KPC has invested RM30 million to clean the bauxite waste at the harbour area."
Wan Junaidi also said the Cabinet had agreed that the bauxite royalty payment be made before the bauxite Approved Permit (AP) be issued to curb leakages of royalty experienced by the Pahang state government.
"The state government realised they could have collected RM180 million of royalty in their evaluation but only obtained RM50 million. This means some had exported bauxite without paying royalty. We want them to pay first.
"We concede there is a weakness there and I have discussed with the secretary-general of the ministry to overcome the issue. I will set down a rule, anyone asking for AP, must pay royalty upfront," he said. — Bernama

thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks