Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Don’t let new tin mining plan go the way of Lynas


YOURSAY | ‘Get your mining SOP in order, protect the catchment areas, and most of all protect local communities.’

Malaysia to dive back into tin mining, says Xavier

Vgeorgemy: If, as Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar says, Putrajaya wants to open up tin mines again, then let his ministry publish the new mining standard operating procedure (SOP) for the people to understand its effects on the economy and environment.

We don’t want potential tin-mining investment ending up with the same issues that have befallen Lynas and the bauxite mines in Pahang.

Patriot1: It would be good if we can diversify the nation's sources of income. After all, if we are blessed with natural resources, why not?

However, the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry should really come up with a proper mining SOP to protect the environment.

In the past, the government came up with many good ideas but failed at the implementation stage because many projects were either awarded to cronies with no capabilities on an ‘Ali Baba’ basis, or the monitoring agencies were plagued by corruption.

This resulted in the open flouting of rules and regulations without any consequences. Maybe for a start, all future mining operators should be held financially accountable for any environmental damage.

Mining technology has improved over the years, and probably many environmental issues may be addressed as a result. It boils down to the government's commitment to manage the issues. Over to you, minister.

Hopeful123: If Xavier is correct on the amount of tin resources, a simple calculation shows that at current prices, we can get US$20 billion (RM82 billion) for one million tonnes.

Hopefully, this venture into tin mining will not end up like Petronas. All transactions must be open to ensure nobody syphons off the money.

Kahlil Gibran: @Hopeful123, We cannot take Xavier’s figure on the amount of tin as correct and precise. Putrajaya will say something today, and then tomorrow it will turn out different.

Remember, in industries like mining, the social cost is very high. Also, who wants to work in mines?

It is a very dangerous job with a lot of health complications.

Mining is environmentally hazardous. Why are we going backwards in our economy? We should be geared toward services and technology.

But we remain stubborn and refuse to improve our education system, and that is why we have to go back to Victorian-era industries.

Clever Voter: Indeed, mining has always been a hazardous industry. We cannot return to the old ways of extracting the precious metal.

The question now is who should be the ones getting the licences, and whether any development will have a spinoff effect. Harapan has to apply the right governance, as so far it hasn't been done perfectly.

Newday: The price of tin in 1986 being just under US$6,000 (RM24,797) for one tonnes probably equates to about US$20,000 (RM82,658) now. It was 33 years ago, after all.

Currently, the world market is flat, but some have forecast an increase in demand from 2022 onwards. So there is no hurry to start up again, Xavier.

Also, given that tin demand is expected to pick up with the ongoing rollout of electric vehicles and increasing robotics, maybe we can look to ensuring downstream processing is developed here – that is the real money-maker.

We do not need any more environmental disasters like the bauxite mining in Pahang to happen in the future. Get your mining SOP in order, protect the catchment areas and, most of all, protect local communities.

AnotherKomentar: Make sure tin mining is carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner, and that the royalties don’t end up with royalty.

I'm not deaf to incinerator concerns, Zuraida assures

Dr Spin: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, your concern about the urgency to clean up the existing waste problems is understandable.

However, waste incineration has been widely rejected throughout developed countries with a few notable exceptions. Countries like Japan and Denmark have tackled the issues with very tightly controlled technology that few others can afford.

Malaysia still struggles with project financing, except where economics like oil and gas guarantee a profitable return. Where any attempt is made to cut costs, or expedite implementation, the risk of inferior design, materials, construction, operation and monitoring is almost inevitable.

With a few good exceptions, environmental and safety compliance and effective enforcement are yet to be proven.

I have long been involved with hazardous materials and their handling, and I would recommend against incineration as any form of a short-term solution, as the risks to communities in the areas of the fallout (a 10km to 20km radius) from the facility or locally during start-up process remain too high.

In Australia, the rejection of incineration as the final solution in the waste pipeline hastened the elimination of the manufacturing and use of some of the most toxic products.

The lesson is that rejecting a poor end-solution can lead to a better result by eliminating the problem.

Responsible materials management aims to eliminate the problem, rather than moving it. If past experience lessons are not enough, at least take time to evaluate the effectiveness and continued environmental compliance of the first new waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at all stages of operation.

We should also ensure that safety and emergency measures are fully prepared and implemented.

In the event of a fire, special resources must be immediately available. Procedures applicable to toxic waste and site specifics need to be properly evaluated and professionally employed.

Risks to surrounding areas can be exacerbated by the lack of site safety and security, as well as an inadequate emergency response.

But it is great to hear from Zuraida that the Highland Towers site may finally be cleaned up and converted to a memorial park. Congratulations on that initiative.

Symbol: Zuraida has exceeded my expectations. She has been one of the better-performing ministers in the Harapan cabinet, and has done quite a lot without fanfare. My best wishes go out to her to get her job done.

Jonah2: Singapore has four WTE plants... and Singapore is clean. I guess we Malaysians like to live in the midst of our own garbage.

Firenet: @Jonah2, I gather you have never wandered around Tuas, where one of the incinerators is located. When I cycle in the area, the amount of dust collected on my skin is terrible.

Just because you don’t see pollution with your naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not there. Even incinerators with the latest technology can’t filter out everything.

The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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