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Barren hills due to mining at Tasik Chini in Pekan. NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

PEKAN: At least two illegal mines operating without adhering to specifications and affecting the environment have been found near Tasik Chini near here.

The mines are located on a construction site and by the lakeside facing the Tasik Chini Research Centre.

A source said checks revealed that the sites did not have mining permits, but the miners were merely taking advantage of mining activities on licensed sites.

“However, they have not been operating over the past few days when the authorities were doing inspections,” he said yesterday.

On Thursday, Berita Harian reported that the future of Tasik Chini, which is famous for its dragon mythology and eco-tourism attractions, was becoming bleak due to unabated land clearing and mining at nearby Bukit Ketaya.

The 12 freshwater lakes spanning 5,084ha, which contribute to the local economy through tourism and fishing activities, are also affected as the lake water has turned murky.

A survey around the lakes and Bukit Ketaya found unregulated land clearing activities in the vicinity.

There were no buffer zones that were usually set to prevent environmental pollution.

It is understood that the land clearing for mining in the area began a few years ago, but it has been getting worse lately.

Following complaints, the Pahang government launched an integrated operation involving the Directorate of Land and Mines, the Department of Environment, the Mineral and Geoscience Department, the Forestry Department, the State Secretariat Office and the Pekan District and Land Office to rein in mining activities near Tasik Chini.

A BH survey yesterday found no ongoing mining work at Bukit Ketaya after the integrated operation and BH reports.

However, there were movement of lorries believed to be
transporting iron ore out of the mining area to the main road junction.

A resident, who wanted to be known only as Azlan, claimed that the lorries moved out of
the illegal mining area after 10pm.

“We were surprised with these unusual developments, which prompted us to report to the authorities.

“It’s good if the authorities can act against illegal mining companies which destroy the environment.

“What they are doing is wrong,” he said.

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