KUANTAN: Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has expressed his satisfaction on the level of environmental cleanliness in the district in the run-up to the expiry of the bauxite-mining moratorium on Dec 31.
Junaidi said that the environment here looks more beautiful nearly a year on since the moratorium was imposed by the Ministry on Jan 15.
He said that Kuantan Port, which had shipped out all stocks of legally-mined bauxite before the imposition of the moratorium on Jan 15, had spent RM30 million to ensure that the shipment of the mineral did not leave any negative remnants on the environment.
However, he said it was too early to say whether the existing moratorium should be allowed to lapse on Dec 31 or be extended.
“We will go back to the Ministry, then hold a meeting (with various stakeholders), before making a decision,” he said, adding that they will also get feedback from the Cabinet before making any decision.
He was speaking during a press conference at the Annexe Rest House here this afternoon.
Earlier this morning, he had conducted an aerial inspection of bauxite mining sites like Felda Bukit Kuantan and Kuantan Port.
Junaidi admitted that during his aerial tour on a helicopter, he spotted some bauxite mining sites, which had evidently amassed mounds of new resources, indicating that there are still illegal mining activities being carried out.
He said that the mining sites are vast in size and that it was impossible for enforcement officers to cover every area to catch those mining illegally.
He added however that what was most important was that any bauxite mining done should be in accordance with the law and sustainable practices.
“Our basic major policy is that the mining (of bauxite) is consistent with global practices as well as with our (Malaysian) development goals.
“The general public must be able to reap the returns from mining these natural resources,” he said, adding that regardless, the practice must still be done in the most sustainable way possible.-nst