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Sunday November 6, 2011

Raw limestone cannot be exported, says minerals dept

PETALING JAYA: Raw limestone is not allowed to be exported out of the country, said the Department of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia.

Malaysia had been exporting limestones in the form of flux or ground calcium carbonate (GCC), a processed limestone product for industrial feed material for the manufacture of various products such as lime, cement and paper filler, the department said in a statement.

“In 2009, Malaysia exported 607,411 tonnes of limestone flux valued at RM81,998,000 and the amount increased to 630,067 tonnes with a value of RM85,848,766 last year,” the statement said.

Industry experts have questioned how the raw materials could leave the country in the form of stones.

An industry expert Datuk Seri S.V. Ramakrishanan said he was shocked over the statement that raw limestone was not allowed to be exported.

“It does not make sense as limestone is openly stockpiled at the Lumut port and shipped out to various countries in its raw form,” claimed Ramakrishanan, who has been in the business for two decades and had helped set up several limestone processing plants.

Another expert Abdul Halim Jali, who has 21 years experience in the industry, also claimed that the export of raw limestone was not new.

“It is time the Government realises that they have been allowing the precious minerals to be easily removed. Action should be taken to control the situation,” he said.

On Nov 2, The Star reported that Malaysia allowed the export of raw limestone, leading to a loss of billions of ringgit.

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