Kedah MB: State govt, licensed firms not involved in illegal rare earth mining

ALOR SETAR: Incidents of theft or illegal mining of rare earth elements detected recently at the Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve in Sik do not involve the state government or companies granted licences to conduct exploration work for minerals in the area.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor (pic) said Prospek Suria Sdn Bhd, the company working with Mentri Besar Kedah Incorporated (MBI Kedah) on the project, has not started any work because it is still waiting for the standard operating procedure (SOP) from the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

"The company that obtained the licence to conduct exploration works and the joint venture with MBI Kedah is not involved. When the company found out about the (illegal mining), it immediately contacted the state government to say it was not involved.

"I was informed that the site is outside the area given to the company. Some people say there is an MBI Kedah sign at the entrance of that area (but) MBI is not involved either," he said after officiating at the closing of Program Jelajah Kedah Sejahtera Daerah Kota Setar here on Friday (Oct 7).

During the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Oct 4), Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan reportedly said operations to bust the activities of syndicates carrying out illegal rare earth element mining in Sik had saved the country from possible losses of billions of ringgit.

Muhammad Sanusi also said he believed that the incident did not involve government agencies.

He hoped the relevant authorities including the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Kedah Land and Mines Director's Office and Kedah Forestry Department would investigate, identify the culprits and take appropriate action. – Bernama

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