JOHOR BARU: The Johor state government today refuted a recent media report concerning a bauxite mining megaproject in Kota Tinggi.

State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said in a statement today that, based on checks with the Department of Environment (DOE), the state government confirmed that no approval had been provided to any private firm to undertake such an activity.

Moreover, the checks had not come across any information whatsoever on the matter, including an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report allegedly obtained by the firm, the executive councillor said, adding that the Kota Tinggi District Council had also confirmed that no application had been made by any company to undertake bauxite mining in the area.

Stating that the Johor government viewed the report seriously, particularly in view of the environmental factor in the long-term, Tan said the state government would undertake close monitoring of the matter through the relevant departments and agencies.

Tan’s statement was issued following a statement made yesterday by State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse that the government had not received an application from any company concerning a bauxite mining mega project.

A media portal had recently reported that The One Minerals Mining Sdn Bhd (TOMM) and Hong Kong investment firm Via East West Capital (VEWC) would invest US$350 million (RM1.47 billion) to mine bauxite on 2,833 hectares in Johor over the next five years.

TOMM managing director Looi Kam Yong was reported to have said the mining project on FELDA land in Kota Tinggi was scheduled to begin in four to six months time and would involve five tranches with the first comprising an investment of US$50 million (RM210 million) on 404.7 hectares.

The portal also quoted him as stating that the project, which had a DOE-approved EIA report in hand, would create between 100 and 150 jobs for every 404.7ha for the local community. — Bernama