Malaysia extends bauxite mining moratorium for 6 months

A worker wearing a face mask looks on at a bauxite storage site in Bukit Goh situated in Malaysia's rural state of Pahang on Oct 13, 2015.
A worker wearing a face mask looks on at a bauxite storage site in Bukit Goh situated in Malaysia's rural state of Pahang on Oct 13, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia extended its bauxite mining moratorium for another six months until the Dec 31, to clear existing stockpiles of the aluminium-making commodity.

The government first imposed a three-month ban on bauxite mining in January last year to curb the environmental damage residents said it caused.

Malaysia's bauxite is mostly mined in Kuantan, the capital of the east coast state of Pahang. The largely unregulated bauxite mining industry had boomed over the last two years to meet demand from top aluminium producer China, filling in a supply gap after Indonesia banned exports.

"The ministry along with the state government has agreed to extend the moratorium for six months more until Dec 31 to enable the rest of the bauxite to be exported," said natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in an emailed press statement on Thursday (June 29) evening.