No signs of illegal gold mining

KOTA KINABALU: State Forestry officials and other enforcement agencies are keeping a close watch on the possibility of future illegal gold mining activities in Sabah, especially in forest reserves.

Sabah chief conservator of forests Frederick Kugan said although there were no further reports of such activities following a raid in Lahad Datu on Oct 10, monitoring would still be conducted.

“Illegal gold mining is not widespread as claimed, and we suspect illegal immigrants are the ones involved,” he said when contacted.

“There are no further leads to the recent case, but the department will continue to investigate, patrol and monitor the area,” he said.

In the operation, General Operations Force personnel came across gold mining tools stored between the large exposed roots of a tree near Sungai Bole Ulu Segama-Malua, Lahad Datu.

However, no suspects have been arrested so far.

Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said he was informed that such illegal activities were not rampant in Sabah.

He also said that legal mining of this nature was uncommon, as there was only one gold mining licence issued in the state thus far.

Jafry explained that for mining activities, approval had to be obtained from various parties, including the Land and Survey Department, while an environmental impact assessment report was needed before any work could start.

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