THE Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd (RAGM) intends to play a major role in bringing Raub back to glory days when it was once a prominent and bustling town.
RAGM director Datuk Seri Andrew Kam said mining benefitted the local community when foreigners started large-scale mining in Raub about 100 years ago.
“Early records show there were more than 8,000 local workers employed at the mines and interestingly, the people of Raub were the first in the country to enjoy electricity supply.
“The first power station was built and operated by Australians in the Sempan River on July 4, 1900,” he said in his speech during a 1Malaysia Chinese New Year gathering at Dataran Raub on Saturday.
Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah was the guest-of-honour at the event which was attended by 20,000 people.
Organised by RAGM, the event also welcomed Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Raub MP and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Pahang Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Datuk Seri Lim Sing @ Lam Kam Sang, state secretary Datuk Seri Muhammad Safian Ismail and other guests.
Kam said when the mine shut down in the 1960s due to falling gold prices and inability to recover gold efficiently at that time, Raub became a sleepy town and many locals left in search of jobs elsewhere.
He said now, gold prices had hit US$1,400 (RM4,200) an ounce and the firm had introduced safer and more efficient mining techniques for the recovery of gold.
“RAGM has been operating the 1.1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) throughput carbon-in-leach processing plant which uses modern technology for nearly two years.
”We are proud that we have brought in a proven technology which is safe and internationally practised,” he said, adding that through its parent company, Peninsular Gold Limited, a substantial amount of investment helped boost the local economy.
Kam said RAGM saw its first gold pour from the new plant on Feb 18, 2009 and so far, it had invested more than RM300mil, demonstrating its long-term commitment to Raub.
He said 200 jobs were created during its initial operations and a further 200 more would be created due to its expansion.
“We are a part of this community and want to bring Raub to its former glory and boost the local economy,” he said, adding that the firm hoped to play a significant role in looking after the welfare of the people and bring prosperity to the local businesses.
A host of activities were lined up during the event which ended with a spectacular fireworks display.
They were feted to a night of cultural and music performances, such as the 24-season drum, lion and dragon dances, Chinese classical music and dance.
Several artistes such as Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Datuk David Arumugam, M. Nasir and Winnie Kok also captivated the crowd with their songs.
The sultan and his two princesses joined in to toss yee sang with guests before sharing a light moment with the artistes.
He also took to the stage and belted out several Malay and English classic numbers with the guests.
Students who excelled in the UPSR and PMR examinations were also given incentives by the sultan accompanied by Kam, Dr Ng and Liow.