KUANTAN: Various processes and agencies are involved in the approval of a mining lease application in Pahang, says the state Land and Mines Office.
The Office issued a statement to explain the approval chronology after news broke that a mining project had been approved in the vicinity of Tasik Chini.
It said the statement was issued so there would not be any confusion that leads to negative perceptions that did not reflect the actual situation.
The statement said that action at the state government level was acceptance of application, application referral to eight technical agencies for review, recommendation by the state Mineral Resources Committee, approval by state authorities, notification of approval, payment for approval, preparations of declaration plan by the Survey and Mapping Department and registration of mining lease.
The Office also said action at the Federal Government agency level involved the applicant's preparation for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Department of Environment (DOE) if the site is categorised as a sensitive area and the application for a Mining Operation Scheme Approval Letter from the Minerals and Geoscience Department for the purpose of commencing operations or mining works.
The statement said the powers of the state authorities are based on the Pahang Mineral Enactment 2001 up to the issuance or registration of mining leases while the powers of the Federal Government are based on the Mineral Development Act 1994 (Act 525) in the scope of permission to operate a mining activity.
"This clearly shows that various parties are involved in all aspects of mining lease application in the state.
"An application will not receive approval if it did not involve both the state government and the Federal Government," it said.
Recently, it was reported that a project to mine manganese and other minerals had been approved about 3km southeast of Tasik Chini.
According to the executive summary of the project's EIA, the 40.51ha project site is outside the Tasik Chini gazetted area.
The reactions on social media prompted the Pahang DOE to respond on Thursday (June 10), saying that the lake's water quality to date showed that it was in the "clean" category.
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh called for the DOE to add measurement parameters for water quality in its readings and to disclose it to the public.
She said concerns were raised over the possible presence of heavy metals in the water that might flow from mines, which could then enter the lake.
"As long as the heavy metals reading is not disclosed, it is not appropriate for DOE to claim that the water quality of Tasik Chini is clean," she said.
keywords: tasik chini, land and mines office, mining, DOE, EIA, Fuziah Salleh