KUCHING: There is a possibility that illegal mining of bauxite is still taking place in Felda Bukit Goh, Pahang, although there is no conclusive evidence.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said he noticed several heaps of bauxite, as if they were stockpiles, during a recent aerial surveillance of the area.
However, he said he did not notice any movement of vehicles, lorries and excavators.
If there is any illegal mining taking place, it may not be as rampant as thought, he added.
“This leads to two possibilities. Either there is there is some illegal mining or the heaps of bauxite were left behind before the moratorium was imposed,” he told reporters here Friday.
Dr Wan Junaidi, who is also Santubong MP, said his ministry is not against any form of mining, as long as it is conducted according to rules and regulations to protect the environment.
“Mining creates wealth. Natural resources must be harvested based on international standards and sustainable management.
"When we exploit our mineral wealth, we must not pollute the environment,” he said.
It was reported yesterday that the moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang has been extended to March 31 next year. It is the fourth extension since the moratorium was first imposed early this year.
Dr Wan Junaidi was reported as saying that some 2.95 million tonnes of bauxite remains which is yet to be cleared and exported.
He said there have been notable improvements in cleanliness and pollution in Pahang since the moratorium took effect.