KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has drawn up new, all-encompassing legislation to allow the Federal Government to effectively regulate and monitor mining activities in the country.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, said this was timely as there were serious legal constraints in the existing laws.
The new law, he said, would also address the problem of overlapping jurisdictions.
“How much power do we have to ensure that mining operations are sustainable? For example, we cannot stop errant transporters as we do not have the authority to. That power lies with the police and Road Transport Department.”
He said the new legislation, which was formulated by the Mineral and Geoscience Department, sought to address, among others, issues pertaining to the licensing, storage, processing and transportation of mineral ore outside mineral tenement areas.
“Approving the licence and making sure that licence holders adhere to the conditions of their licences come under the state’s jurisdiction.
“But once they step out of mining areas or pollute the environment, they come under the ministry.”
The draft law is being reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Wan Junaidi said the Mineral and Geoscience Department would also monitor operations nationwide.
Following the New Straits Times’ Special Probes Team’s exclusive three-day series on the adverse environmental impact of bauxite-mining activities in Kuantan, Wan Junaidi, under orders from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, visited mines in the district to assess the situation, prompting the legal revisions.