KUANTAN: Prior to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) seizure of all bauxite stockpiles in August, some operators were found to be mining and exporting the lucrative mineral without Approved Permits (AP).
Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said by not getting the AP from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, these owners of bauxite stockpiles and related operators were conducting mining and transporting of the mineral illegally.
"The issuance of special AP were for higher amounts of bauxite compared to the actual quantity at the stockpiles. This led to unlawful mining and transporting activities in order to match the quantities approved," he said during the state assembly sitting here today.
He was answering a question from Datuk Fong Koong Fuee (BN-Cheka) on problem of bauxite-mining activities that flouted the moratorium, which had been enforced since January 15 last year.
Adnan said checks by Pahang Lands and Mines Office found that bauxite-mining activities only came to a complete halt when MACC confiscated 10 million tonnes of the mineral three months ago.
"The bauxite problem is caused by human greed. I remember that when the issue was at its peak, I had called up the operators and warned them that if they did not abide by regulations, the federal government will take over and they will go bankrupt.
"That turned out to be true as many (operators) had 'gulung tikar' (went bankrupt) afterwards," he said, adding that at one point a lorry driver could earn between RM7,000 and RM11,000 a month from transporting bauxite.
Adnan said that prior to the MACC seizure of the stockpiles, some operators were even transporting out bauxite from the mining areas without abiding by the regulatory schedule of 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm.
"However, with the moratorium (in place), all settled down (cease of bauxite-mining and its related consequences)," he said.
To an additional question from Andansura Rabu (Pas-Beserah) on whether the state government plans to bury the disused bauxite mines here, Adnan said such matter should be carried out by the owners of the land.
"However, they were not earnest in closing (the mines). Despite giving promises that they would close the mines, no efforts were made despite having been paid deposits (by the mining operators) to do so." he said.
Around 30 bauxite mines throughout the district here are subject to the moratorium, which expires on Dec 31.