Malaysia’s mineral resource industry consists of a sector of coal, ferrous and nonferrous metals mining, a sector of ferrous and nonferrous metals processing , and a sector of industrial minerals extraction and processing. Most mining and mineral-processing businesses incorporated in Malaysia are privately owned or a joint venture with State-owned company.
Malaysia has coal resources located in the states of Selangor, Perak, Perlis, Sarawak and Sabah. Current production of coal comes primarily from six mines in Sarawak. The DMG has estimated the country’s coal resources at some 1,724 million tonnes of which 274 million tonnes are measured, 347 million tonnes indicated and the balance of 1,102 million tonnes as inferred. Some 80 per cent of the resources are located in Sarawak, 19 per cent in Sabah and one per cent in Peninsular Malaysia. The largest reserves of coal are located in Merit Pila, Sarawak and in Maliau and Malibau, Sabah. Output in 2007 increased to 1,063,078 tonnes from 901,801 tonnes in 2006.
Malaysia’s demand for coal has been on the increase and is expected to rise to 19 million tonnes by 2010. Most of the country’s requirements are met by imports from Indonesia, Australia and China. They are consumed mainly by the power generation and cement plants, and to a lesser extent by the iron and steel plants. The country aims to boost coal’s share of the overall energy mix from the present 18 per cent to 30 per cent by 2010. Malaysia’s current domestic energy mix under its Five-Fuel Policy comprise oil, gas, hydro power, coal and renewable energy.
Production of bauxite in 2007 increased substantially by 71 per cent from 91,806 tonnes in 2006 to 156,785 tonnes due to strong demand and high prices. The production came from one mine located in Sungei Rengit, Pengerang, Johore, and exported mainly to Thailand, Japan and Taiwan. The remaining ore reserve of the bauxite mine is small. There are potential resources of bauxite in other parts of Malaysia, such as in the states of Sarawak and Sabah. The approval to build an aluminium smelting plant in Sarawak is reported to be still under consideration of the Federal Government during the year under review.
Gold production in 2007 declined by 16.7 per cent from 3,497 kgs in 2006 to 2,913 kgs. The output came from five gold mines located in Pahang, Kelantan, and Johor. The country’s largest gold producer is the Penjom Gold Mine located in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. It is a joint-venture between local and foreign interests, and is the largest open pit primary gold mine in Malaysia contributing over 90 per cent of the country’s annual gold output. According to studies by the DMG, there are prospective gold deposits in several other states, such as Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak.
Ilmenite comes mainly from the processing of ‘amang’ from alluvial tin. There is no primary ilmenite mine in Malaysia today due to exhaustion of high grade reserves. Ilmenite production now comes mostly from amang retreatment plants in Perak and Selangor. Production of ilmenite in 2007 increased to 59,310 tonnes from 45,649 tonnes produced in 2006.
Iron-ore output in 2007 increased by 20 per cent to 802,030 tonnes from 667,082 tonnes in 2006. They were produced from 12 mines located in Pahang, Johore, Perak and Terengganu. Most of the iron-ore mined were of low grade from mines with small reserves. The ores were consumed mainly by the local cement, and iron and steel plants. Malaysia’s steel industry also imports iron-ore in the form of lumps and pellets for their manufacturing requirements. Most of the imported iron-ore are sourced from Brazil, Chile and Bahrain.
Tin concentrates production continued to decline due to exhaustion of mineable reserves and non-availability of mining land. Malaysia was once the world’s largest tin producer in the 1980s, but is now only a minor tin producing nation. Tin produced in 2007 decreased further by 135 tonnes or 5.6 per cent to 2,263 tonnes. They were produced mainly from mines located in Perak, and some in Selangor and Pahang.
Aggregates are obtained from two primary sources, namely quarries and river beds, and consist mainly of granite and limestone rock types. Aggregates are abundant throughout the states of Perak, Selangor, Johore, Sabah and Sarawak. Some 300 quarries were in operation during the year producing various types of aggregates. Production in 2007 declined to 77,633,789 tonnes from 79,912,682 tonnes produced in the previous year.
There are abundant clay resources found throughout the country. These clays include common clay, ball clay, fire clay, shale, laterite and red earth. The clays are mainly used in making bricks, ceramic wares, cement and also for landfill. Deposits of clays are located in the states of Pahang, Selangor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Negeri Sembilan, Johore and Sarawak. Production of clays in 2007 increased to 28,292,423 tonnes from 25,081,174 tonnes produced in 2006.
Malaysia has fairly limited resources of feldspar. The available resources are located mainly in the states of Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Johore, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan. They are four types of feldspar but only potassium and sodium feldspar have economic interest. They are used mainly in the production of glass, ceramics and mild abrasives. Production in 2007 increased to 358,584 tonnes from 142,358 tonnes produced in 2006.
Malaysia has sizeable reserves of kaolin. Some 112 million tonnes of kaolin reserves have been identified throughout the country located in the states of Perak, Johore, Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang and Sarawak. Production of kaolin in 2007 increased to 587,508 tonnes from 341,223 tonnes produced in 2006. They came from 30 active kaolin mines. Kaolin is used mainly as paper coatings and fillers, and in the manufacturing of ceramics, paints, rubber, plastics and chemical products.
Malaysia has fairly abundant reserves of limestone. Some 12,000 million tonnes of limestone reserves have been identified located in the states of Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak. They are used in the manufacture of cement, and also for producing marble dimension stone and other limestone based products. Production in 2007 declined to 20,947,943 tonnes from 21,164,546 tonnes produced in 2006.
Mica is produced generally in the form of flake mica of the muscovite type. It comes only from the state of Perak. The crude fine flakes are recovered from schistose rocks by screening according to the required grain size, either by wet or dry process. They are then further processed to various sizes of ground mica powder. Mica is used in industrial applications such as paints and in cosmetic applications, mould lubricant in the rubber industry, fluxing agent in welding electrodes and reinforcement in plastics.
Malaysia also has abundant sand and gravel resources, which are important raw materials used in the construction and infrastructure industries. They are derived mainly from rivers, alluvium, offshore areas and mine tailings located throughout the states of Perak, Kedah, Johore, Selangor and Sarawak. Production in 2007 declined to 22,370,943 tonnes from 25,225,911 tonnes produced in 2006.
Substantial silica-sand resources are found throughout Malaysia comprising largely of natural sand deposits and ex-tin mine tailings. The DMG has estimated that the country has some 148.4 million tonnes of silica-sand reserves located in the states of Johor, Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak. Production of silica-sand in 2007 increased to 719,221 tonnes from 512,277 tonnes produced in 2006. They came from several active sand mining operations in Johore, Perak and Sarawak. Most of the silica are used in the manufacturing of glass products and to a lesser extent in the production of ceramics, foundries, glasswool and water treatment materials.
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