Bauxite build-up at Kuantan port

Bauxite build-up at Kuantan port
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUANTAN - Some three million tonnes of bauxite will be sitting on Kuantan Port's land when a three-month mining ban kicks in on Jan 15.

Kuantan Port Consortium general manager Datuk Azahari Muhammad Yusof said lorries were now bringing bauxite here at an average of 80,000 tonnes a day.

"We have more or less 2.8 million tonnes of bauxite in Kuantan Port. We will have roughly three million tonnes by Jan 15," he told The Star.

He added that this took into account the thousands of tonnes of bauxite being loaded onto ships every day.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry announced the ban on Wednesday, adding it would be extended if miners did not manage mining and transport of the mineral well after that.

Right now the port and 11 stockpile spots are being used to store the bauxite mined around Kuantan.

A central stockpile outside the port will be built by the end of the three-month period.

On this, Azahari said any bauxite that could not be sold within the first month after Jan 15 will be moved to this central stockpile.

He seemed confident that the port could remove its bauxite stores within this first month.

When asked how many ships could be loaded with bauxite each day, Azahari said the port could spare five berths at the most for this purpose.

"We allocate for bauxite, a minimum of two (berths for ships). We can move about 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes a day onto each ship per berth," he said.

He added that while there were 22 berths in Kuantan Port, most were already being used for ships to be filled with containers, palm oil and other goods.

Azahari implied that it was going to take time to clear all the bauxite at the port as it would take time for ships to come in and out.

He added that moving bauxite out of the port might be slow during Chinese New Year, adding that all ships coming for the resource were from China.

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