(this article isn’t as long as it seems, just skim through the gold bold parts if need be)
Lemme ask you a simple question: Do you believe BN minister Ng Yen Yen?
Raub MP Ng Yen Yen today said that there is no cause for concern for the villagers of Bukit Koman adding that she had already looked into the matter three years ago.
“I met the residents, I met the committee, I brought up the specialist to see them, everything had been done (three years ago),”
She added that she had maintained her silence on the matter because when “people refuse to listen to scientific facts, one cannot talk reason”.
Villagers of Kampung Bukit Koman are facing health and environment problems after a gold mine operator started using cyanide in the extraction method in February.
The villagers reportedly began experiencing headaches, breathing difficulties and skin irritation after the company, Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd (RAGM) began using cyanide in their operations.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, T Murugiah, on Thursday had given the green light to RAGM for the usage of cyanide in the mining process.
Ng said that the matter was closed with Murugiah’s statement.
She said despite her consultation with the residents, “they still went on and on and on”.
Scientific facts eh? Funny she didn’t really mention any. Let’s compare YB Ng’s ‘brilliant’ defence of big corporations with excerpts and scientific facts from the Memorandum by Bukit Koman residents:
1. Human health – The life and well-being of at least 3,000 residents of Bukit Koman living within a 2km vicinity to the RAGM mining premises are seriously threatened by the increasingly worsening air quality in the area. At least 300 villagers, including the elderly and children, have complained of suffering from different medical symptoms since the operation started in February 2009;
2. Ecological integrity – The integrity of surface water catchment and groundwater aquifer are seriously compromised. Detoxification of cyanide containing mine tailings and implementation of environmental monitoring plans, if carried out by RAGM, have not been made known to the public. However, the results of laboratory analysis of water samples collected by State Local Government, Environment and Health Committee on 25 May 2009 at the tailing pond detected 0.03mg/L cyanide, which is well above the Recommended Permissible level of below 0.2ppm (Part Per Million) held by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. Presence of cyanide-like odour in the atmosphere was sustained and evident;
The ground breaking ceremony of the CIL plant was held on March 2, 2007. As of February 2009, RAGM commenced operation of its CIL plant and an estimated amount of 1,500 kg of cyanide was used daily. The management of RAGM, when queried repeatedly by BKACAC, has failed on several occasions to produce sufficient proof that the storage, disposal and treatment of cyanide compounds and wastes are in full compliance with established local and international standards.
1. Repeated statement found in the Admission Document submitted to London Stock Exchange by Peninsular Gold Ltd (the parent company of RAGM) dated 17 June 2005, that cyanide detoxification MAY NOT be required for its operation in Malaysia particularly at the Bukit Koman site. To quote directly from the document, section 188.8.131.52 reads,
“…informed by Peninsular that cyanide destruction is not required by either the local authority, or the lender. Provision has been made in the capital cost for a detoxification plant, although its operating cost has not been included as it may not be required”.
(Imprima de Bussy, 2005)
2. Persistent and strong cyanide-like odour detected by the majority of Bukit Koman residents, since the RAUB CIL plant started operation in February 2009. More than 400 cases have been reported. Such odour has never been present in Bukit Koman in prior times. Various medical symptoms suffered by the residents after detecting the presence of such odour includes insomnia, vomiting, dizziness and skin rashes, with total number of reported cases exceeding 200.
3. Laboratory analytical results of water samples collected at May 25, 2009 by State Local Government, Environment and Health Committee and tested for total cyanide concentration. The results was 0.03mg/L which is well above normal background concentration in natural water bodies
4. Furthermore, two internationally reputable environmental scientists, Dr. Mark Chernaik and Dr Glenn Miller, when engaged by BKACAC to provide their expert opinion have concluded that:
“the operation of the proposed gold mine tailings processing facility would impose an unreasonable risk to the health and safety or persons residing in Bukit Koman”,
and due to the lack of information
“residents of Bukit Koman can reasonably apprehend that their groundwater and surface water supplies would be contaminated by the migration of toxic substances from effluent in the standing pond”.
Dr Glenn Miller visited Bukit Koman during June 2008 and both of they sit on the Steering Committee of International Cyanide Management Code which is partly an United Nations initiative to establish guidelines for the mining industry.
If I had to hazard a guess, DAP didn’t really field someone they thought could win in this seat. I doubt Yen2 will be so lucky next time.
Of course, you also want to check out the blog dedicated to this entire Bukit Koman issue: Against License to Kill.
The responsibility also falls on us. Will we keep allowing our friends to vote for BN MP’s, Ministers, state and federal governments who literally put gold above people’s lives?
Or are we gonna work to get people to vote for the kind of government that (although sometimes late in the game) works to defend the little guy?
For good measure, here’s a video from an older article: