Tag Archives: quarrying

Lafarge Malaysia Berhad – Kanthan Quarry Development

Share

In view of the letters titled, “Quarry’s response to complaints” and “Historical limestone gone forever” published in the September 1-15 issue of the Ipoh Echo, Lafarge Malaysia Berhad (formerly known as Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad) would like to reassure the public that it is committed to working with local stakeholders to promote and protect biodiversity. Around the world and in Malaysia, Lafarge employs a sound and responsible approach to its quarrying activities, and has in place quarry development plans which take into account sensitive environmental aspects.

Underground mining is a common method employed for mining coal, gemstones and rocks. Mining techniques deployed are dependent on geological and hydrological conditions. Each situation is very unique and the area where underground mining takes place needs to be very stable. In the case of Gunung Kanthan, taking into consideration the necessary conditions required, we are not looking into this option.

To address biodiversity concerns, Lafarge is currently working with local stakeholders and, more specifically, is collaborating with a qualified and independent team at the University of Malaya’s (UM) Institute of Biological Sciences to assess biodiversity sensitivities in the area. The UM team is working in partnership with Lafarge’s International Biodiversity Panel whose members include representatives from IUCN France and the Wildlife Habitat Council amongst others.

Moving forward, Lafarge will continue to engage environmental groups, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work towards preserving biodiversity at Gunung Kanthan. We will only make a decision on how to proceed with our quarrying operations once the relevant studies, including biodiversity have been completed.

 

Sekar Kaliannan

Kanthan Plant Manager

Lafarge Malaysia Berhad

‘Quarry’s Response to Complaints’

Share

Letter

I applaud the recent statement in Ipoh Echo by Lafarge Cement that they are taking steps to protect the biodiversity within its quarries. The Limestone hills here in the Kinta Valley are actually just the “Tip of the Iceberg” and very much more limestone lies underground according to geological surveys. I urge Lafarge to spare the hills and instead practise Sub-surface Quarrying.

They can start digging underground at their present quarry site instead of blasting more hills. Since the quarry site is already degraded, just continue going below the surface and spare the hills which are the homes of so much flora and fauna. Underground quarrying, when done on degraded land, is much less damaging to the environment.

I believe that Hume Cement near Kampar is using Sub-surface Quarrying for their limestone. The hills in the Kinta Valley are of great benefit to all living things so please spare them from further destruction.

Robert Percival
Taman Tambun

Are We Doing Enough To Protect Our Limestone Hills?

Share

By Mariam Mokhtar

The limestone hills of the Kinta Valley come in all shapes and sizes and Ipoh is home to imposing karst outcrops and craggy jungle-topped limestone monoliths. Some hills are cloaked in virgin jungle but all are rich in flora and fauna – serows, monkeys, birds, orchids and ferns. These hills have a unique natural beauty and are appreciated by many people.

Why are quarry operators exploiting Ipoh’s impressive natural backdrop to extract limestone, marble, lime and aggregate for use in road-building and the construction of houses?

Why are the few allowed to destroy what remains one of Ipoh’s last natural heritage which have stood for millions of years but have fallen prey to man’s greed and folly?

Millions of Years Old

According to scientists, the limestone in Peninsular Malaysia may have originated from various geological periods between the Silurian/Ordovician times (505-410 million years ago) and the Triassic period (245-208 million years ago).

The oldest limestone massifs, formed about 450 million years ago, appear to be located in the Klang Valley, north-eastern section of the Kinta Valley, parts of Langkawi and the Perak-Thai border whilst the youngest (about 220 million years ago) straddles the Pahang-Kelantan border.

The Kinta Valley is the largest limestone massif, stretching from Tapah in the south to Lintang in the north with lpoh right in the middle.

Authorities date the Kinta limestone from Devonian to Permian (410-245 million years ago), a history of close to half a billion years.

When these rocks were formed, there was no life on land – all life being contained in the sea in the most primitive form.

The hills witnessed and possibly contributed to the colonisation and evolution of life on land and also bore witness to several cataclysmic events that almost annihilated life on earth about 255 million years ago.

People’s Lament Rising

Lately, various people have been writing to the national newspapers, or contacted this paper and even started a campaign on Facebook, lamenting the loss of Ipoh’s limestone hills.

One reader wrote, “Lately, I have noticed that quarries in Ipoh are slowly but surely pounding away at the limestone hills. It is dramatically visible to anyone on the North-South Expressway in the vicinity of the Tambun toll plaza.

“I remember when I was a primary school pupil, I used to be fascinated by the various shapes of the numerous limestone hills in Ipoh. Some looked like the belly of a fat person, some resembled a dragon’s curved body, one had a large tree growing on it that resembled a horse rider with a cape ala’ Zorro!”

Other Ipohites, even those who reside outside of Ipoh and who return from time to time, share similar concerns.

“I am not sure if any government department or environmental body is monitoring these quarries as I believe within a few years the landscape of Ipoh will be changed forever, with all limestone hills within sight destroyed, all for the sake of limestone extraction, pure profit-driven motives.

“If you were to drive past the huge quarry on the southern part of the Tambun toll plaza, it resembles a war zone with hills that look like they had been bombed indiscriminately.

Preservation Efforts Lacking

Many people are unsure if the limestone hills are preserved and gazetted as ‘Protected areas under the National Park Act 1980 and Wildlife Protection Act 1972’. If they are, then the lack of conservation efforts have resulted in the hills being destroyed by uncontrolled or poorly managed excavations by developers. Who enforces these laws?

The importance of preserving the hills for recreational and educational purposes has been acknowledged in the Draft Structure Plan (Amendment) of the lpoh City Council 1998-2000. Quarry lease locations in the Kramat Pulai areas cover Gunung Rapat, Gunung Terendum, Gunung Lanno and other small hills.

Many people are increasingly worried that the limestone hills are being demolished indiscriminately: “Why hasn’t anyone complained about this matter? Is it because they are used to the unsightly scenery and just couldn’t care less about it?

One former Ipohite, Idris said, “I can only assume that limestone hills which house temples or have cave paintings will be saved. I hope the relevant bodies can put a stop to the blatant destruction of the limestone hills around Ipoh.

Profit from Destruction of Legacy?

“Yes, quarries need to operate and the Perak government needs the income from taxes derived from these quarries, but if done at the expense of destroying the venerable charisma of Ipoh’s landscape, one needs to stop and ask where this detrimental action will eventually lead us,” said Idris, a businessman who frequently travels to and from Ipoh.

So are we Ipohites going to sit around and watch how a few people profit from the destruction of our legacy?

When will the state administration acknowledge that these limestone hills are our natural heritage? When will the state actively promote the conservation and preservation of these outcrops and the diverse ecosystems they support?