Malaysia proposes capping bauxite exports

Imports and Exports | 3 April 2019

Bauxite exports from Malaysia may resume on a strictly capped basis.


The Malaysian Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry has proposed capping exports of bauxite in a draft standard operating procedure document published on its website.

Under the new proposals, monthly exports of the mineral would be limited to 600,000 tonnes in the eastern state of Pahang, the Kuantan port authority has said.

"This capacity has taken into consideration various aspects, including issues of cleanliness and the environment," the Straits Times quotes the draft proposals as saying.

A stipulation would also be put in place stating that bauxite from mines more than five kilometres from the Kuantan port would need to be delivered to a centralised stockpile before being sent to the port for shipment.

Input will now be taken from industry and other stakeholders concerning the draft proposals ahead of a consultation on April 14th 2019.

Bauxite ore is the world's main source of aluminium and Malaysia was once the biggest supplier of the mineral to China, sending a peak of 3.5 million tonnes a month there at the end of 2015.

However, the mining practice was causing pollution and contamination of water sources, so the Malaysian government banned all bauxite extraction in early 2016.

A lifting of the ban was only announced in February this year, although the government stressed that mining and export activity would only resume under strict new operating procedures.