The Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM) said the government should allow limestone quarries to be fully operated immediately, or risk having the clean drinking water supply disrupted.
CICM said the immediate resumption is to allow the lime industry to continue to produce materials such as calcium hydroxide and calcium oxide; which are used for production of Malaysia’s clean drinking water and waste water treatment services to the nation.
It added that the general SOPs for Phase 1 and 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP)have been published by the National Security Council (NSC) recently which indicated that quarry activities could resume its operations – it is however, further subjected to the SOP for Mining and Quarrying Sectors issued by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA).
“The revised SOP for Mining and Quarrying Sectors was only released on July 9, 2021. The revision was
however, specific for Phase 2 of the NRP only. In view of this, limestone quarries for states still under Phase 1 of the NRP have yet to re-start their operations,” CICM said in a statement today.
“CICM strongly urge the Government via KeTSA and also ultimately the NSC to urgently and immediately grant approval to all limestone quarries and lime producers in both Phases 1 and 2 of the NRP to continue to fully operate and enable all the essential industries and services to operate and maintain supply to the general public,” it said.
Presently, supply of raw materials for the lime industry is only allowed from existing and already fast depleting stockpile from the quarry.
The lime industry is already contemplating to shut down their plant operations since raw materials will not be available soon.
“Lime producers will take 3-4 weeks to re-start after any shutdown, and will produce large amounts of waste products, incur extra costs and cause many Malaysian people in the lime industry and its upstream and downstream supply chain to be stood down or potentially lose their jobs,” CICM added.
The essential industries they serve will be without supply of lime and have to also be shut down for many weeks.
This is a major supply chain disruption and the chemical industry council said despite the industry’s pleas since mid of June 2021, none of their concerns were responded promptly.
“Clear and practical SOPs should be promptly issued and approvals to operate granted, so that the entire lime and lime extraction industry could continue its operations quickly.
CICM does not wish to witness a major supply chain disruption which puts supply of clean drinking water to the public, in particular, at risk and causes the disruption of operations of essential industries and services,” it added.
Limestone quarries are also an important input for the production of; among others, sugar, food products and rubber gloves, which are industries categorised as essential by the government during the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and subsequently, the National Recovery Plan.
“The industry expects a more swift, practical and thorough response from the Government, effective for the entire supply chain where essential sectors are concerned, particularly when the matter is of public interest and also
affects the well-being of the people,” CICM said.
By : AZREEN HANI – TMR