KOTA KINABALU: Aura Avenue Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of KTS Group, today signed an agreement with YSG Silica Sdn Bhd to develop a joint venture silica sand project on Balambangan Island.
The agreement was signed by Yayasan Sabah director Datuk Jamalul Kiram Datuk Mohd Zakaria and KTS Group managing director Dato Henry Lau, and witnessed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Following the signing, Shafie said the collaboration was significant to reduce dependency on the oil and gas and timber industries as sources of income for Sabah.
“Silica is a new resource for us to explore which could not only benefit us in Sabah, but foreign investors as well. This cooperation between Aura Avenue and YSG Silica could not only produce silica but lead to a downstream industry as well, such as producing glass products, to be developed in the future,” said Shafie.
He emphasised that the agreement would create a win-win situation for both parties, where YSG Silica provides land and raw materials while Aura Avenue provides capital and expertise from being in the industry for 50 years.
There might also be collaboration on how products could be sold abroad, Shafie added.
“We want a win-win situation where both parties benefit. We don’t want one party getting more out of this agreement than the other.
This would also be for the benefit of YSG Silica, as KTS Group has been in the field for many years. We also believe it is better for this project to be given to a local company with the know-how, rather than bringing in a company from overseas,” he said.
According to Shafie, staff are already on the ground and await machinery from Sarawak for the project to commence further.
As for environmental concerns, the Chief Minister assured the project would have minimal impact on local communities.
Meanwhile, Lau said the joint venture project would strictly abide by the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.