Mining activities not within forest reserve, says land dept

KUANTAN: The Pahang Lands and Mines Department has dismissed claims that the mining activities being carried out around Tasik Chini are within a forest reserve.

It said a total of 14 mining licences were issued in the area before 4,600ha of Tasik Chini State Park were gazetted in 2019 as the Chini Forest Reserve, adding that no new licences have been issued since.

In a statement yesterday, the state director’s office said the area gazetted as the Chini Forest Reserve has also been proposed as a new Unesco Biosphere Reserve area by state authorities.

“Of the 14 mining areas, only two remain in operation,” it said, adding that one of the licences would expire in June and another at the end of the year.

“To ensure environmental sustainability, the state authorities are committed to ensuring that no new licences are issued in the Tasik Chini area,” it added.

The statement was in response to social media reports relating to environmental destruction.

The department said that state authorities would not compromise on failure to comply with conditions set through evaluation and review from eight technical agencies from the Federal and state government.

It said on June 17 last year, the state issued immediate stop-work orders on 11 operators in the Tasik Chini area due to non-compliance with mining approval conditions.

The department added that operators were required to, among others, conduct clear demarcation, install barriers or fences, plant trees and register machinery use.

“They are only allowed to operate after all instructions have been complied with,” it said.

It also said that the Environment Department had been monitoring the lake’s water quality since 2005, and that the water was clean and safe for aquatic life.

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