The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

GE13: Gold mining not linked to HCN readings, says RAGM general manager

Please read this: Lee showing his statement in Raub recently. Please read this: Lee showing his statement in Raub recently.

RAUB: The presence of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) gas in Bukit Koman may be caused by other sources other than mining activities in the village.

Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd (RAGM), who has been operating the gold mine since 2009, said there was no evidence linking the level of HCN readings at the village to the operations of the plant.

The plant has become an issue with the villagers after some of them protested against the mining company’s gold extraction methods.

“It is important for the public to be aware that there are other sources of HCN gas in the air such as burning of wood, rubbish and particularly plastics, car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke.

“It is conceivable that these sources, when combined, could produce a low level of HCN in the air that is measurable but is not associated with our plant,” RAGM general manager (mine operations) Richard Lee said.

Lee was responding to a statement made by the Raub Ban Cyanide Action Committee (BCAC), who claimed that the readings detected in Bukit Koman by the Department of Environment (DOE) was directly due to the operations of the RAGM plant.

The BCAC also claimed that the DOE readings showed that Bukit Koman residents were exposed to HCN concentrations of 0.5 to 0.8 parts per million every day.

Lee said the company was disappointed in “certain individuals” who have continued to deliberately spread misinformation and have consistently refused to accept independent findings that showed the plant is safe.

Recently, the Health Ministry had revealed that there were no incidents of unusual health problems in Kampung Bukit Koman up to March this year.

The conclusion was drawn by the ministry’s team of experts on public and environment health, who have conducted environmental studies, water, soil and air sampling following complaints of public health in the area.

Even DAP Kepong MP and dermatologist Dr Tan Seng Giaw, who had examined 20 of the villagers last August on the invitation of BCAC, concluded that there was no evidence to show that skin problems was linked to the use of cyanide in mining activities.

“As far as we are aware, until today, the BCAC had failed to provide cogent evidence to back their claims that 383 people are suffering from ill health.

“We hope that with this latest finding by the ministry, all quarters will stop making unsubstantiated allegations about our operations and the plant,” said Lee.