KUANTAN: Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd (KPC) is ready to handle bauxite shipments if the government lifts the moratorium on mining in the state on Dec 31.
“KPC has spent a lot of money on improving facilities to ensure the situation does not go back to what it was,” said chief executive officer Datuk Khasbullah A. Kadir after flagging off KPC’s Give Day Out event on Saturday.
“We have four washing bays compared to one previously. We have adhered to government guidelines on bauxite stockpiling sites and transport at the port.
“We cleared our stockpiles in the first three months after the moratorium was imposed. Anyone who comes to the port can see the difference compared with early this year. Now we are waiting for directions from the government.”
Khasbullah said the current bauxite shipments were from stockpiles outside the port that were being cleared.
“The shipments are carried out under approval permits issued by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry with a limit of between 300,000 and 400,000 tonnes per month,” he said, adding that the volume handled by the port might go up once the bauxite operations were back to normal.
“Before the moratorium was imposed, we handled between 3.4 and 3.6 million tonnes of bauxite per month.”
He said tests had to be carried out to find out how much bauxite the port could handle without impacting the environment.
KPC and the state government had come under fire for not paying adequate attention to bauxite storage and transport, which led to air, river and sea pollution. The government had imposed a moratorium on bauxite mining in the state from Jan 15 to April 14. It was extended again and again to July 15, Sept 14 and Dec 31.