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Som Forest: Home to tapirs and elephants or mining site for Pahang royals?

Another mining project is now seeking approval from the Department of Environment to excavate iron ore at Kuala Tembeling, Jerantut, Pahang.

This project has two similarities to the earlier reported controversial mining operations near Tasik Chini - both are linked to Pahang royalty and have appointed Golden Prosperous Resources Sdn Bhd as the contractor.

According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report which was released for public viewing at the end of May, the Kuala Tembeling project involves 60.75ha of land, which is the size of around 113 football fields.

The project site, which affects the Central Forest Spine, will be cleared and excavated if the EIA is approved. The Central Forest Spine covers a wide swath across Peninsular Malaysia and links four main forest complexes.

The project site, located in the middle of the Som Forest Reserve, is a known roaming habitat for several protected wildlife, such as the Asian Tapir, Asian Elephant, Malayan Sun Bear, and the critically endangered Malayan Tiger.

According to the EIA report, the project will significantly, permanently, and irreversibly impact wildlife habitats. This is despite reclamation and rehabilitation of the area after mining activities are completed.

The EIA report states that the mining lease for Lot 15523 was owned by...

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