The date to resume bauxite mining in Pahang would be decided by the state government, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
He said his ministry had prepared a new standard operating procedure (SOP) on mining and export of bauxite for those involved in such activities to comply with.
"Those who want to be involved in bauxite mining can apply for a license from the state government with approval subject to the compliance of the SOP.
“If all operators can meet the SOP, they can start operation when the state government decides on the matter,” he told a media conference after launching the 2019 World Elephant Day celebration at Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre in Temerloh today.
Also present were the Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department (Perhilitan) director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim and Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (Exim Bank) chairman Feizal Mustapha.
Xavier also stressed that the most important aspect in bauxite mining is compliance to the SOP which has been finalised by the Pahang state government to avoid the recurrence of pollution from the activity.
Bauxite mining in Pahang was halted via a moratorium from Jan 15, 2016, following complaints from residents on air pollution and dangers posed by lorries transporting bauxite.
Bauxite mining allegedly caused several districts around Kuantan to be enveloped in red dust and earned the nickname ‘Planet Mars’ apart from turning rivers and waters in Kuantan red.
Dr Xavier, however, said the new SOP on bauxite had been finalised and is effective immediately after a special meeting with Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail in the federal capital on Thursday.