Hentikan cadangan perlombongan terbuka bijih mangan di Gua Musang (Malay/English)

Manganese ore - WIKIPEDIA

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) dengan tegas membantah cadangan perlombongan terbuka bijih mangan di Aring 6, Mukim Relai, Gua Musang yang akan merosakkan kawasan seluas 500 ekar dan menyebabkan pencemaran air yang serius, memusnahkan habitat hidupan liar, serta alam semula jadi yang seharusnya dilindungi dan dipulihara.

Kami amat bimbang perlombongan terbuka/jalur yang dicadangkan untuk projek ini oleh Nadi KW Sdn. Bhd., seperti yang tertera dalam laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling cadangan projek yang kini sedang dipamerkan untuk ulasan awam.

Walaupun sudah diketahui perlombongan terbuka/jalur di luar negara menunjukkan kerosakan yang ketara terhadap alam sekitar, kami amat terkejut apabila cadangan itu sedang dipertimbangkan.

Memburukkan lagi keadaan, laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling mendedahkan projek itu sudah pun membersihkan 117.32 hektar (57%) tanah dan kerja dimulakan (dengan 80% daripada peringkat praoperasi telah siap) sebelum penyerahan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling. Ini adalah satu kesalahan di bawah Akta Kualiti Alam Sekeliling, Seksyen 34(A)(6).

Bagaimana syarikat dibenarkan untuk memulakan kerja sebelum penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling diluluskan adalah sesuatu yang misteri dan memerlukan penjelasan daripada Jabatan Alam Sekitar.

Kami amat bimbang proses penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling ini sekadar menjadi persetujuan bagi operasi perlombongan dan pengesahan kerja haram yang telah dilaksanakan. 

Berdasarkan penelitian SAM terhadap laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling, kami ingin mendedahkan tiga lagi kebimbangan serius yang utama mengenai projek yang dicadangkan. 

Berdasarkan maklumat yang disediakan, terbukti bahawa operasi perlombongan yang dicadangkan akan menjejaskan ekosistem ke suatu keadaan yang tidak dapat dipulihkan berikutan kemusnahan alam sekitar.

Hasil pemodelan air menunjukkan kebimbangan serius mengenai pencemaran air, walaupun dengan langkah mitigasi yang dicadangkan. Banyak parameter, terutama sekali logam berat akan melebihi paras asal (baseline) dan diklasifikasikan sebagai kelas V, paras paling tercemar apabila operasi perlombongan bermula. Ini amat serius terutamanya kerana loji rawatan air Lebir terletak hanya 1km hilir sungai daripada tapak projek. 

Lanjutan daripada ini, kejadian banjir baru-baru ini di kawasan hilir Sungai Kelantan meningkatkan lagi kebimbangan mengenai isu pencemaran air. Sementara projek yang dicadangkan mungkin tidak terjejas oleh banjir, projek itu berpotensi meningkatkan kekerapan berlakunya kejadian banjir kilat di kawasan hilir sungai, sepertimana yang disahkan oleh penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling. Saliran asid dari lombong yang dihasilkan daripada industri lombong juga menjadi satu lagi kebimbangan yang serius.

Sepertimana yang disahkan di dalam penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling, “Tapak projek adalah habitat hidupan liar, dan cadangan melombong adalah pencerobohan kepada habitat semula jadi hidupan liar.” Kawasan kajian menjadi kediaman hidupan liar seperti gajah Asia, clouded leopard, small-clawed otters, dusky langur, beruang matahari dan Tapir, di mana kebanyakan haiwan ini dikategorikan sebagai hampir terancam, terjejas dan haiwan liar terancam di bawah Buku Data Merah 2020 Kesatuan Antarabangsa bagi Pemuliharaan Alam Semula Jadi (IUCN). Di samping itu, kebanyakan spesies burung yang direkodkan dalam kawasan kajian dilindungi sepenuhnya atau dilindungi oleh Akta Pemuliharaan Hidupan Liar 2010.

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Seterusnya, ia juga memburukkan lagi konflik manusia-hidupan liar memandangkan sudah pun terdapat rekod aduan konflik manusia-hidupan liar dalam lingkungan 5km sekitar projek. Idea seluruh projek untuk mewujudkan tapak perlombongan di lokasi kawasan sensitif alam sekitar tahap tiga boleh membawa kepada kesan buruk terhadap ekosistem di sini.

Tambahan pula, daripada perspektif sosioekonomi, laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling mendedahkan bahawa 53% responden tidak bersetuju dengan cadangan projek.

Memburukkan lagi keadaan, cadangan tapak juga menjadi sebahagian daripada wilayah komuniti penduduk asal yang tinggal berhampiran tapak projek. Dengan kampung Orang Asli berdekatan, kawasan ini menjadi sumber kehidupan dan bekalan air bersih. Sehubungan dengan ini tidak seharusnya dikeluarkan sebarang lesen kepada syarikat yang boleh mengganggu hak adat penduduk asal di kawasan tersebut.

Berdasarkan kepada perkara di atas, SAM menggesa tindakan berikut:

  • Kami menggesa Jabatan Alam Sekitar tidak meluluskan laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling dan menolaknya
  • Penggerak projek perlu diarahkan supaya memulihkan semula kawasan yang telah dibersihkan, dan tindakan tegas perlu diambil terhadap mereka yang memulakan projek sebelum memperoleh kelulusan
  • Kerajaan negeri Kelantan perlu mengambil tahu isu sosial dan alam sekitar yang berlaku akibat projek perlombongan terbuka di seluruh dunia dan daripada pengalaman tempatan sebelum ini. Kami menggesa kerajaan negeri Kelantan dan Jabatan Mineral dan Geosains Malaysia untuk tidak membenarkan operasi perlombongan ini diteruskan

Kami juga ingin memaklumkan kepada orang ramai bahawa pemberitahuan dan ringkasan eksekutif laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling projek yang dicadangkan ini sedang dipamerkan oleh Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS). Laporan penuh penilaian kesan projek yang dicadangkan boleh diakses dalam talian dan tempoh tamat bagi penyerahan maklum balas awam ialah pada 15 Jun 2021. Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila layari https://bit.ly/2SiMrAQ. – SAM

Meenakshi Raman ialah presiden Sahabat Alam Malaysia

Halt proposed open cast mining of manganese ore in Gua Musang, Kelantan

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is firmly opposed to the proposed open cast mining for manganese ore at Aring 6, Mukim Relai, Gua Musang, which will damage 500 acres of land and cause serious water pollution and destroy wildlife habitat and the natural environment, which must be protected and conserved.

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We are most concerned that such an opencast/strip mining has been proposed for this project by Nadi KW Sdn Bhd, as disclosed in an environmental impact assessment that is currently under review.

Despite well-known dangers of open cast and strip mining abroad, which have shown that significant damage can result to the environment, we are shocked that such a proposal is under consideration.

To make matters worse, the environmental impact assessment reveals that the project has already cleared 117.3ha (57%) of the land and work has started (with 80% of the pre-operation stage completed) before the submission of the environmental impact assessment. This is an offence under the Environmental Quality Act, Section 34(A)(6). How the company is allowed to start work even before the environmental impact assessment has been approved is a mystery and requires clarification from the Department of Environment.

We are very concerned that the environmental impact assessment process will rubber stamp the mining operations and will legitimise the illegal works that have been going on.

Based on SAM’s review of the environmental impact assessment, we would like to highlight three other serious concerns about the proposed project.

Based on the information provided, it is evident that the proposed mining operation will affect the ecosystem to a state which will be irreparable following the environmental destruction.

The water modelling results show serious concerns about water pollution, even with the proposed mitigation measures in place. Many parameters, especially the heavy metals, will exceed the baseline levels and be classified as Class V, the most polluted level, when the mining operation begins. This is a serious concern especially when the Lebir water treatment plant is located just 1km away downstream from the project site.

Further, the recent case of flooding at the downstream area of Sungai Kelantan raises a further concern on the water pollution issue. While the proposed project may not be affected by the flood, the project can potentially increase the frequency of flash floods in the downstream area, as confirmed by the environmental impact assessment. Acid mine drainage is another serious concern stemming from the mining industry.

As confirmed in the environmental impact assessment, “The project site is a wildlife habitat, and the proposed mining is an intrusion into the wildlife natural habitats.”

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Wildlife like Asian elephants, clouded leopards, small-clawed otters, dusky langur, sun bears, and tapirs inhabit this area. Most of these animals are categorised as near threatened, vulnerable and endangered wild animals under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book 2020. Besides that, most species of birds recorded in the study area are totally protected or protected by the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Further, it will exacerbate human-wildlife conflict as there was already a record of complaints on human-wildlife conflict within a 5km radius around the project site. The idea of the whole project to establish a mining site at a location which is an environmentally sensitive area (Rank 3) could lead to adverse ecological impacts.

Moreover, from a socioeconomic perspective, the environmental impact assessment reveals that 53% of the respondents consulted disagreed with the proposed project.

To compound matters, the proposed site could also be part of the territory of the indigenous communities who reside close to the project site. With an Orang Asli village nearby, this area provides them with their sources of livelihoods and clean water supply. There should not be any issue of licences to companies that can disrupt the customary rights of the indigenous peoples in the area.

Based on the above, SAM calls for the following action:

  • We urge the Department of Environment not to approve the environmental impact assessment report and to reject it
  • The project proponent should be directed to rehabilitate the area that has been cleared, and stern action should be taken against them for starting the project before acquiring approvals
  • The Kelantan state government should take note of the ongoing environmental and social issues brought about by open cast mining projects around the world and from previous local experiences. We call on the Kelantan state government and the Malaysian Geoscience and Minerals Department not to not allow this mining operation to continue

We would like to alert the public that the notification and executive summary of the environmental impact assessment report of this proposed project are currently being displayed by the Department of Environment. The full report of the proposed project can be accessed online and the deadline for the public feedback submission is 15 June 2021. For more information, please click here. – SAM

Meenakshi Raman is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia

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