IPOH: Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (pic) says the people should not panic over inaccurate information on the issue of rare earth mining being allowed in the state.
He said Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) had a joint venture with a company based in China to carry out exploration activities.
“We want to know what we have in our earth. After finding out, we will study if it’s economical for us to extract it, and whether it will benefit the people and the state.
“In fact, in order to carry out any mining activities, we need to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and we also carry out a Social Impact study in Perak.
He told reporters this after launching an Agrofest event at the Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC) headquarters here on Friday (Nov 29).
Present was SADC chief executive officer Yahanis Yahya, and several state executive council members.
Ahmad was asked to comment on Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) which issued a statement questioning why rare earth mining would be allowed in Perak.
SAM president Meenakshi Raman had said on Nov 27 that it was irresponsible of the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry as well as the Perak government to allow a China-based company to explore and mine rare earth in Perak - as this had far-reaching implications on human health and the environment.
She had added that the authorities should take heed of lessons learnt from the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant (that was in operation from the mid-1980s to the 1990s) that resulted in the dumping of hazardous thorium and uranium waste.
Ahmad added that it was important to explore what was beneath the earth, and exploration did not mean that the state had agreed to extract anything.
“The state is always open to hear suggestions from the private sector, but it does not necessarily mean that we agree to all the suggestions.
“I hope the matter is cleared, please don’t talk about it any more, ” he said.
On the issue of having the ashes of former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng back on Malaysian soil, Ahmad said he was unaware of the ashes coming into Perak, as it was definitely not via the government.
“A certain group had mentioned it, and now I hear that the police are investigating the case. For me, it is better to hand over the case to the police, as there are far more important issues that the people should focus on, ” he said.