IPOH: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu says there should be no panic over reports that a company has been allowed to mine rare earth in the state, claiming that the China firm was only allowed to conduct exploration.
He said Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) has a joint-venture with the company to find out what minerals were located underneath.
“After that, we will study if it is economical for us to extract them, and if it will benefit the people and the state.
“In fact, to carry out mining activity, we need to undertake an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and in Perak, we also carry out a Social Impact study.
“It is not as simple as signing an agreement on exploration today and tomorrow someone starts talking about rare earth mining, ” he told reporters after launching a two-day Agrofest event at the Perak State Agriculture Development Corp headquarters here yesterday.
Ahmad Faizal was asked to respond to Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) asking if rare earth mining would be allowed in Perak.
SAM president Meenakshi Raman said that it was irresponsible of the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry and Perak government to allow a China-based company to explore and mine rare earth in the state due to the serious implications it may have on human health and the environment.
She reminded the authorities to take heed of lessons learnt from the Asian Rare Earth plant in Perak, which operated from the mid-80s to 90s and resulted in the dumping of hazardous thorium and uranium waste.
Saying it was important to explore what was beneath the earth, the MB clarified that this did not mean “that the state has agreed to extract anything”.
“We are always open to suggestions from the private sector, but it does not mean that we will agree.
“I hope the matter is cleared, and please don’t talk about it anymore, ” he said.
On the issue of Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng’s ashes being brought back to the country, Ahmad Faizal said he was unaware of the ashes coming into Perak as it was applied via the government.
“A certain group had mentioned about it, and now I hear that the police are investigating the case. Let the police investigate, ” he added.