Conservation group suggest underground mining to preserve Perak’s hills

An underground limestone mining operation in Malim Nawar, Kampar.

IPOH: Limestone hill conservation group Kinta Valley Watch has called on the government to consider underground mining to preserve the hills.

Its spokesman Ching Boon Tat said the technology and means for underground mining are readily available and some quarry operators in Perak are already doing so.

Ching said there needs to be a win-win solution between a sustainable environment and the economy.

"Some people believe that limestone hills in Kinta Valley are necessary to be destroyed to spur the economy and keep new houses affordable," he said.

"But is it really necessary to wipe out all the limestone mountains in Kinta Valley?

"Scientific researches show that about 20% of limestone are on the ground and about 80% limestone are underground," he said, adding that underground mining operations could be found in Tasek, Ipoh and Malim Nawar, Kampar.

Ching said the amount of limestone found underground could last for generations.

"According to some research, the quality of the limestone is also good.

"I do believe that it is a matter of mindset and approach," he said, adding that limestone hills are a heritage for the state that should be preserved and protected.

In the last few months, there have been several incidents involving limestone hills.

In October, Malaysian scientists found a fossilised tooth of a Stegodon, an extinct elephant that was estimated to be between 30,000 and 80,000 years old, in a limestone cave in Gopeng, Perak.

While in November, two people at a resort in Tambun were found buried under limestone rocks after a landslide.

Ching said he and his group will continue to call out for the preservation of the limestone hills.

"If we don't voice out, more hills will be blasted in the future," he added.

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