Over RM3 mln in royalties imposed on gold miners



KOTA KINABALU: Over RM3 million in royalties were imposed by the State Government on gold miners up to July 2009, with RM1,335,697.39 paid to the State and a remaining RM1,917,758.80 pending.

The royalty was imposed at a five per cent rate after 37,808 kilograms of gold were mined during that time at Bukit Mantri, Tawau, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“As of now, there is only one gold mine in Sabah which is at Bukit Mantri in Tawau, which obtained a mineral lease grant of 946.1 hectares in 2015.

“The mine began operating in 2018 after obtaining special approval from the Sabah Environment Protection Department and Operational Mining Scheme from the Minerals and Geoscience Department.

“Up till July 24, 2009, the mine produced 37,808kg of gold with a market value of RM65,069,122.61.

“The previous government set a royalty fee of five per cent on market price of gold, and with that, total royalty due to the State government is RM3,253,456.19. As far as I know, RM1,335,697.39 has been paid while another RM1,917,758.80 is still owed,” Shafie said during a question-and-answer session at the State Assembly sitting yesterday, in reply to a question by Tambunan assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffery Kitingan on gold mining in Sabah.

Shafie added that the State Government would review approvals passed by the previous government with regard to mining activities, to ensure benefits go back to the State and the people.

For future gold mining activities in Sabah, the State government proposed that mining lease land be released to companies owned by the government, or government-linked companies only.

“Land will not be given to private companies to ensure benefits go back to the State. If there are private companies interested, they could form joint ventures in terms of implementation but ownership must be fully under the government,” he said.

In addition, the State Government takes into account sustainable management of mineral resources as a contributing sector to the economy, with efficient and responsible use without compromising the environment.

Shafie added that the government also offers participating governance, where all stakeholders and the community are involved in the decision-making process where mining activities are concerned, to enforce strict control over its execution.