Gold mining in Bukit Mantri Tawau is legal, says Sabah Finance Minister

KOTA KINABALU: The controversial gold mining activity in Bukit Mantri Tawau is legal, says Sabah Finance Minister.

Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (GRS - Karanaan) said the state’s position is that gold mining in Tawau is legal under the Sabah Mining Ordinance 1960.

“The state has decided not to acknowledge the use of the Mineral Development Act 1994 (MDA) in Sabah and has started actions to strengthen the Sabah Mining Ordinance 1960 through the empowerment of regulatory frameworks in line with the ordinance,” he said.

He said this in his winding-up speech at the State Assembly on Wednesday (April 24).

Masidi said the mining company managed to get its license renewed on April 8, and accusations that the company was operating illegally despite an earlier permit that expired on Oct 31, 2023 due to some technical matters were untrue.

He said that although the earlier permit had expired, the Land and Surveys Department had not instructed Sabah to stop operations because Sabah is not bound by the Mineral Mining Act 1994.

He said the state has not collected royalties from the mining company following 10 inspections from Nov 1, 2023, to April 7, 2024.

Masidi said there was no record of gold sales or invoices received for the 254.51kg gold bars produced during this period.

He said, “The state government is taking steps to update and fine-tune standard operating procedures in the collection of royalties and applications of other licences pertaining to the mining operations scheme, among other measures.”

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