According to a Reuters report, Malaysia will issue bauxite mining licenses to companies in December or January, which will allow the miners to resume activities after the ban in early 2016 over unregulated mining and water contamination. The news came after Xavier Jayakumar, Malaysia’s water, land and natural resources minister announced this in a parliament.
Malaysia was once the biggest bauxite supplier to top aluminium producers in China. At the end of 2015, the bauxite shipments from the Southeast Asian country were about 3.5 million tonnes. The mining mostly used to take place near the east coast port city of Kuantan in Pahang state of Malaysia.
Earlier this year, the Malaysian government had lifted the ban on mining, with a condition that the miners had to conduct an environmental impact study on their sites for receiving licenses to restart operations.
Then in September, new stringent standard operating procedures (SOP) were introduced, such as the fixed amount of bauxite 600,000 tonnes to be exported in a month and a buffer zone created between mining sites and residential areas.
Xavier Jayakumar, Malaysia’s water, land and natural resources minister, said a six-month monitoring process would start once licenses issued in December or January. He also said that Pahang would consider applications from three local companies.
“We want to make sure the SOP is adhered to and if there are any loopholes, we strengthen those areas,” Xavier said, adding that increasing the export limit would depend on the Kuantan port’s capacity.