KOTA KINABALU: The coal deposits in Sabah’s Maliau Basin will not be mined, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“I am giving a guarantee that any coal mining in the Maliau Basin will not be approved. The Parti Warisan Sabah-led state government will preserve it, ” said Shafie.
He said this at the state assembly on Tuesday (Aug 6) in response to a question from Kiulu assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai on the possibility of coal mining in the nature reserve.
Shafie had said earlier that the only mining carried out in Sabah was for gold at a 946.1 ha area in Bukit Mantri in Tawau through a mineral lease issued in 2015.
He added that the mining permit was issued by the then Musa Aman-led Barisan Nasional government and that work in the mine began in 2018.
“As of July 24 this year, some 378.08kg of gold with a market value of RM65.069mil has been extracted by the company, ” he said when answering a question from Tambunan assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan.
He added that that the previous government set a 5% royalty and said that the state has so far received RM1.335mil of the total RM3.253mil royalty due from the amount extracted.
Shafie said that the Sabah government would be monitoring the operations of the gold mine and would ensure that the royalties are paid on time and that environmental issues are strictly adhered too.
He added that the Sabah government has decided that only government-linked companies can conduct mining in the state from now on.
“There will be no outsiders, they can only do joint ventures, ” said Shafie.
Shafie also said that the state government is looking at initiatives to increase revenue from natural resources in an efficient, responsible and sustainable manner.