Investigate illegal gold mining operations in Tawau, assemblyman urges Mineral and Geoscience Dept

KOTA KINABALU: A state assemblyman has threatened to lodge another report regarding an alleged illegal gold mining operation in Tawau, if the Mineral and Geoscience Department (JMG) refuses to investigate this matter.

Merotai assemblyman Sarifuddin Hata who lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over this issue earlier December, last year, said a probe must be done, more so after Customs officials seized gold bars from the Tawau airport on Feb 6.

He said the people in Tawau, like himself, want to know for sure whether gold mining activities were still allowed seeing that the mining company did not have its license renewed as yet.

"I was told that this company’s mining license expired last year and there have been no attempts to renew the license," he said in a statement, Friday (Feb 9).

In the Tawau airport raid, Customs Department assistant chief director for Sabah zone, Datuk Mohd Nasir Deraman had confirmed an initial seizure of gold bars weighing around 110kg at around 11am, Tuesday (Feb 6).

Several people who were carrying the gold bars were also detained to facilitate investigations, he said.

However, the gold bars were returned to the company after Customs officials found that there were no laws broken under the Customs Act, or any subsidiary laws under the Act.

Sarifuddin asked what were the laws that allowed the company to mine gold and then bring the bars out of the state, when the company was said to be operating illegally.

"Is it enough to have a permit from the Sabah Land and Surveys Department to mine and sell the gold bars obtained, just like that?," he asked.

He claimed that the JMG had issued a stop work order at the mining site in Bukit Perangin Kubang Pasu following a death at the area recently.

"The same can happen at the Bukit Mantri Tawau mining site if the company fails to comply with the Mineral Development (Licensing) Regulations 2016," said Sarifuddin.

Under this act, a company must obtain a mineral license or a processing license among other conditions before they could begin mining and selling minerals, he said.

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Gold Mining , Tawau , Licence , Sarifuddin Hata ,


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