Despite reassurances that the pilot project involving mining of lanthanide (a non-radioactive rare earth element) in Hulu Perak will only proceed upon getting approval, the issue continues to be a hot topic at the Perak state assembly sitting.
Concerns about the environmental impact of the project have received mixed reactions from both the opposition and the government.
Perak Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Saarani Mohamad stressed that there are several requirements to fulfill to obtain other approvals like Planning Permission, Social Impact Assessment, Environmental Management Plan and Erosion Sediment Control Plan.
“There is no need to worry because the state government is strict with the set rules and regulations, including the standard operating procedures (SOP),” he said when answering an oral question during the state assembly sitting today.
In an additional question posed by state assemblyman for Kenering, Dato’ Mohd Tarmizi Idris, he asked on the extent of that guarantee should there be a change in government leadership in the future. He also brought up the recent floods in Baling, Kedah, and was worried if the same thing might happen in his area, as the mining will take place there.
Saarani, who is also the assemblyman for Kota Tampan, said the new resource had been found since the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration in Perak.
“Even if there is a change of government, if it is a good resource to be made a source of income, then we continue.
“YB Kenering also asked for an assurance that the incident that happened in Baling, Kedah will not be repeated in this place (Hulu Perak), I am sure we have taken this into account because there are SOPs that need to be complied with.
“We are monitoring this closely. At the same time we do not want to simply leave the resource there, because this resource is not only available in Perak but in Kedah and Terengganu as well. If it can be proven that it is something that brings good results, then they will also do the same mining activities.
Assemblyman for Pengkalan Hulu, Dato’ Aznel Ibrahim submitted an additional question, asking whether the new resource will be processed locally or sent directly abroad.
Saarani replied that the project is still in the pilot stage but should all the SOPs be complied with and the company be allowed to carry out the project, then the matter will be looked into.
“Once we get new findings, we can see if it can be processed here in Perak, or if it needs to be sent to other countries.
by Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali