06 January 2016, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia said it will ban bauxite mining for three months starting Jan. 15 due to concerns over its impact on the environment.
The move is said to perhaps will hurt stockpiles of the aluminium making ingredient in China.
Malaysia’s bauxite mining industry has boomed in the past two years to meet demand from top aluminium producer China.
However, a lack of regulations has led to a public outcry with many complaining of water contamination and environmental damages following a frenetic pace of digging.
Just last month, bauxite mining was blamed for turning the waters and seas red near Kuantan, the capital of Malaysia’s third-largest state and key bauxite producer Pahang.
“Everything (bauxite mining) will come to a complete stop on Jan. 15,” Malaysia’s natural resources and environment minister, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, said in a press conference.
In the first month, stockpiles at the Kuantan port will be cleared and cleaning facilities will be installed, Wan Junaidi said on Wednesday.
He added that stockpiles in 11 other locations will be cleared in the second month.
Regulations will be imposed on the transport of bauxite as well as cleaning of mining sites, and the ban may be extended if mining firms do not comply, the minister said.
Malaysia will also freeze new bauxite export permits for the three months.