Bleak future for oil palm settlers due to bauxite mining

17 Feb 2016 / 13:51 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Oil palm plantations at Felda Bukit Goh, Bukit Kuantan, Bukit Sago and Bukit Nerang face a bleak future following the mining of bauxite in those areas because turning oil palm plantations into bauxite mining areas affects the soil.

An environmentalist said bauxite mining in the area produces chromium, which is poisonous and could damage oil palm trees in the aforementioned Felda areas.

"Thus, whether oil palm trees can grow back to normal is now an uncertainty, as the soil is already contaminated with the poison," said University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Professor Dr Maketab Mohamed.

He said with the three-month moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang, "the settlers already feel the damage done on oil palm land, and its rehabilitation process would be indeed, tough."

According to the US National Library of Medicine, the toxic effects of chromium on plant growth and development include alterations in the germination process, as well as in the growth of roots, stems and leaves which may effect the total dry matter production and yield of the plant.
On the sidelines of a forum on 'Sustainable Mining Case Study of Bauxite Mining in Pahang' here yesterday on the long-term outcome of palm oil sustainability in the state, Maketab expressed concern over Felda settlers who bargained their land for the promise of a quick buck.

"Those who sell their land, do reap rewards amounting to millions of Ringgit from bauxite businessmen ... the money will not last for generations to come.

"Many have lost their lands and been cheated off their money by bauxite businessmen, the money promised by illegal bauxite miners to the settlers is gone for good and their plantation is at a great loss," said the former Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president.

Thus, he called on the government to re-look at the best way possible to help settlers utilise their land. – Bernama

thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks