Saturday, June 13, 2009

"WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO BUT WAIT TO DIE"

YES those words were uttered by the residents of Bukit Kolam when they failed in their bid to stop a goldmine from carrying out its activities which were causing environmental damages and health concerns. High Court judge Lau Bee Lan dismissed their application on the grounds that the application was made out of time, thus allowing the company to use cyanide to extract gold tailings from the old goldmines in their neighborhood.


Those words certainly conveyed stark finality or utter despair.




The 3,000 plus villagers, represented by the Action Committee Against the Use of Cyanide, had wanted to seek leave from the High Court to pursue their claim against Raub Goldmining Sdn Bhd.

They had wanted the company to provide a detailed environment impact assessment report and to stop the project.


“We did not know that this toxic was being used and we are extremely upset that the company has been allowed to use it in close proximity to our village.

“This is also a danger as the project is located near the Sungai Koman river with the possibility that the toxic may seep into the waterways.

"Since the project had commenced in February, the residents’ health deteriorated due to the effects of cyanide,” said a resident, adding that the authorities should have consulted and briefed the residents on the potential health risks involved.


An independent report on the project had found that the greatest environmental and health risk of the project was the potential release of heavy metals which could contaminate groundwater and surface water supplies in the vicinity of the project area.


The residents cited incidents elsewhere, including one in 2000 when a dam at a goldmine reprocessing facility in Romania released about 100,000 sq metres of wastewater contaminated with heavy metal sludge. Up to 120 tonnes of cyanide were released, polluting 400km of the Tisza and Danube rivers.


Instead of allaying the fears of the residents, raw arrogance was displayed by the Chief Executive of the Company. At a press conference Andrew Kam said that in 1997, an EIA report stated that it was all right to use cyanide for mining if the process was carried out properly.


Kam said the residents were aware this. However, the residents disputed this later and said that the report did not mention anything about cyanide.

Meanwhile, Kam said the mine would bring economic opportunities to the area.

“This is a democratic country. Everybody has the right to voice their opinions, but they are the minority of the majority.

“The majority are looking for jobs, for food, for development and such. You have to look at the majority. You just cannot cater for the interest of a small group,” he added.


Commenting on the protest, he said: “What do the people know? Some of the people may not have been briefed properly. Some of the people don’t understand. They just talk about the cyanide.”

Who should be briefing the people? Who should be responsible to make the people understand? Tell them the benefits of cyanide in their lives. Go live amongst them, breathe the same air and drink the same water. You dare?

He continued:

“In 2001, we won the national award for factory safety. We are very proud of our safety record. I don’t believe we intend to harm the community here,” he stressed.


But this is 2009! And cyanide was not used in 2001.


In a related development, the residents have collected 6,000 signatures for their campaign protest the use of cyanide. The committee’s aims to obtain 10,000 signatures before making their case to the Prime Minister’s Department.


Tomorrow some Barisan Rakyat Bloggers would be joining the residents in a dialogue.






17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The biggest health hazard in gold extraction is MERCURY and its derivatives which seep into the surrounding soil and waterways.
People living in the surrounding would die of slow deaths and new-born deformed children would be the norm.

Anonymous said...

if this kam guy think is good, cyanide if healthy...

suggest he feed it to his kids.

what a blardy arrogant blockhead!

President Pcam said...

Dear Zorro
The application of cynide gas or its active ingredients is governed by the Hydrogen Cynide (Fumigation) Act Chapter 132. http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?&actno=Reved-132&date=latest&method=part It is specifically stipulated that only licensed and trained applicators are permitted to use such toxic chemicals. You should highlight this pertinent matter to the high court in ts judgment against the residents. Furthermore, the Pesticides Act 1974 (Pest control Operators rules 2004) states that storage license and licensed pesticides applicators can only apply these chemicals. Why don't you query Raub Goldmining Sdn Bhd.
on this
Cheers
Controller of 2 legged Pests

Antares said...

You forgot to mention that Raub Goldmining Sdn Bhd is a JV between an Aussie company, Andrew Kam and the Sultan of Pahang's daughter. I kid you not. In Perak the royal household getting involved in business spelt big trouble for the long-term well-being of Perakians... same situation in Pahang. Where else?

Anonymous said...

call in karam singh walia quick. his hand will not go down for sure...

RakyatKelas4 said...

I just reached this blog and found some interesting. This is a nice blog!

Anonymous said...

zorro,

did some research. this killer is a subsidiary of a listed co in AIMS, London. Can anyone knowledgable advise how to petition against the co in London?
also, one of the promoters of this killer is one of the MOIS family members, who now controls Bandaraya Development. Target-boycott properties under Bandaraya such as Bangsar Shopping Complex and Cap Square in downturn KL.

Khun Pana aka johanssm said...

If the use of cyanide is so safe, i suggest that Andrew Kam and his wife and family relocate to Bkt Koman or stay on the mine.
Will Kam risk his own family?

This is not about majority vs the minority. This is all about safety and earth contamination just for some gold dust.And people do lives there.
It is not on an isolated far away plot of land.

telur dua said...

The villagers cost nothing and are expendable.

Mat Rempits and 3Line are National Treasures.

keep smiling said...

Zorro,
Its the people who are careless allowing such incident to happen.They should have voted in the responsible MP and the Raub ADUNs who cares about their safety and health. No point shouting their heads off now. Anyway,be wiser when the next election comes. Lesson learned.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if Peninsulargold is the parent company:

http://www.peninsulargold.com/index.cfm

Since this company has overseas links, those concerned should take this case up to the foreign countries and lobby their politicians. Yes, the green platform in many Western countries are quite powerful and the leading political parties tend to do deals with them.
Try to embarass their foreign partners and highlight the case in their own country. Who says Malaysia is free from former colonial masters?

Anonymous said...

THis is an evironmental issue. Cyanide. mercury and all the other toxic elements carry a high risk of seeping into the earth & water, thus affecting all the living plants and creatures. I hope you guys have your own expert witness, so you can ask the dept of environment to explain. If you guys have the facts and any other preceding cases elsewhere on this planet, sue the govt for risking the lives of the people. This cannot be thrown out because of technicality issue.

writestreet said...

I blogged about the same issue, Z. Such issues have been going on for a long time - most go unreported for various reasons - because the dissenting voices are too soft.

chapchai said...

This reminds me of a similar occurrence in Bau, a former gold-mining village some 20 odd miles outside of Kuching. There is a lovely lake there called Tasek Biru and I have happy memories of swimming there when I was a young girl. It was a popular weekend picnic spot. Some years ago a businessman, with connections to the ruling politicians (what's new?), was granted a licence to mine this lake. The usual mining activities were carried out without regard for the people living around there. The mining was completed, but the lake is now unusable as it has been contaminated with cyanide. And nobody has been held responsible for this environmental damage. Malaysia boleh!

stop the fools said...

omg! cyanide! these #cking idiots are killers!!!

zorro said...

Anon12:37. Yes The developer,Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of London-based Peninsular Gold Ltd.

Chapchai,writestreet....appreciate your valuable imputs. Keep 'em coming.

sanjiun said...

Please check out what health minister said about cyanide issue in Bukit Koman.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgXytV21jew

He blames Pakatan Rakyat on this!!!

[This video was taken by a concerned MCA member. He asked Liow about Bukit koman issue on a MCA function in Penang recently. As a result, he was "invited" by Liow last week after uploading the video on Youtube. However, Liow cancel their meeting last minute.]