KOTA KINABALU: Bahvest Resources Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Lo Fui Ming yesterday clarified that the companys gold mining project in Tawau adhered to strict environmental standards.
Instead of using cyanide heap leaching, Lo said the company adopted carbon-in-leach (CIL) gold extraction process which was done in a controlled environment with no discharge to the rivers.
CIL is a process where carbon is added to the leach tanks, or reaction vessel, so that leaching and absorption takes place in the same tanks.
“This method is practised in the United States, China and New Zealand.
“It is a good system that does not damage the environment.
Additionally, Lo said the Tawau gold mine project did not involve open pit mining like the Mamut Copper Mine (MCM).
“Our project involves slope cutting, which has been discussed and approved by 24 relevant departments and agencies.”
He was commenting on WWF-Malaysia conservation director Dr Henry Chans call to the government to reconsider the Tawau gold mining project due to concerns of its negative impact to the environment and people.
Dr Chan said the extraction and recovery of gold through the mining process involved practices such as open pit mining and cyanide heap leaching that could destroy landscape and create huge amounts of toxic waste.
He said the biggest concern of gold mining was cyanide contamination in rivers, which when ingested, was an extremely harmful substance for humans.
The statement also claimed that the Tawau mining project was approved before an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out.
In response, Lo said the company had complied with all the requirements and regulations before the project commenced.
Once our mining licence was approved, we had undergone a Special EIA whereby the company advertised the project in newspapers for a month and any public feedback was taken into consideration and acted on by the government departments.
The Special EIA was approved after meetings with more than 20 departments and agencies.
So rest assured, we have done our level best to comply (with the environmental regulations).
He added that the slope cutting process in the mining operations has also been evaluated by numerous departments, including the Environmental Protection Department and Department of Mineral and Geoscience Sabah.
Do not undermine the officers at these departments. The project has gone through stringent assessment process.
It is wrong to allege that the project did not undergo EIA.
Our company has complied with international mining standards.
Lo pointed out that Dr Chan should have personally inspected the project before making incorrect statement.
As a public listed company, his allegations have damaging effect on the companys reputation.
Our company reserves the right to pursue legal action against him.
He said any individuals who had doubts about the project could contact him for site inspection.
On another note, Lo said the Tawau mining project has commenced operation six months ago and has paid the State Government close to RM2 million in royalty since.
He said the gold mine was the only one in Malaysia that truly belonged to Sabahans, as many other gold mines in the country have been sold to companies in Singapore, Australia and other countries.
He added that 90 per cent of the companys senior management are Sabahans, including the general manager.
SUMBER : theborneopost.com