Malaysia: Lafarge’s quarrying in Malaysia alarms conservation groups

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Updated Fri, 06 Mar 2015 10:00:58 GMT

Quarrying at Gunung Kanthan, Perak by Lafarge Malaysia has alarmed green groups, who said that work has encro¬ached close to 'sensitive' areas. A small hill within the limestone mountain's southern area was reportedly mined in January 2015. Concern that rocks from Area B where the hill was located would be strewn along the adjacent Area C have caused fears that quarrying there would follow.

Gunung Kanthan, which is home to many endangered species of flora and fauna, is divided into several sections with Areas C and D located in the south. Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Henry Goh, who confirmed that quarrying had been conducted on the hill, cautioned that the removal of forestry there would have damaging effects on Areas C and D. Two new flora species were recently discovered in Area C, which is also home to nine species that are on Malaysia's Red List of Endangered Plants.

Goh said that Lafarge Malaysia had assured him that Areas C and D would not be affected. He also claimed that temples embedded in or around the mountain had received evacuation notices. Goh said that a biodiversity report by Universiti Malaya, commissioned by Lafarge Malaysia, had not been revealed.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has highlighted its concerns to Lafarge chairman Bruno Lafont. "We are concerned to learn that a road is being blasted immediately adjacent to Area C," said IUCN Species Survival Commission chairman Simon Stuart. He stated that Google Earth images showed that the forested valley next to Area C 'is being filled with rubble.'

Lafarge Mal¬aysia vice-president Mariano Garcia maintained that Areas C and D were out of the mining plans. He said that he did not know of the evacuation notices, but that monks and temple staff had entered the quarry site and verbally abused his workers. He also said Lafarge Malaysia had been trying to meet the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to no avail.