EIA report on sand mining in Sg Kinabatangan obtained approval only last month

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Environment Protection Department (EPD) on Thursday, June 17, clarified that temporary occupation licence (TOL) for sand mining in Sungai Kinabatangan was approved by the state land and survey department last September.

However, EPD director Yabi Yangkat said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was only approved by the department on May 20, this year as fulfiling the needs of Section 12(3) Environment Protection Enactment 2002 and Environment Protection (Prescribed Activities) Order 2005.

"Based on our record, this is the status of the questionable sand dredging activity in Kinabatangan River," he told Bernama.

Yesterday, Kinabatangan district officer Latif Kandok was quoted as saying that a company carrying out sand mining in Sungai Taanan, near the Sungai Kinabatangan area, had obtained approval from the department through a TOL.

He said a licence was issued, following the EIA by the EPD and state drainage and irrigation department.

In contrast, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun yesterday ordered a full investigation into how a state agency could have given the green light for river sand dredging activities in the eco-sensitive Kinabatangan area.

Wanting sand excavation to be temporarily halted, pending outcome of the probe, he has also ordered the EPD director to give a full report on why
it permitted a company to dredge sand from the river.

Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation Project chief warden Azri Sawang exposed the sand mining activities in Sungai Kinabatangan recently after several barges were seen carrying sand over the past few weeks.

Checks on the barges revealed that they had a letter from the EPD to dredge sand. -- Bernama
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