Malaysia to ban bauxite mining in Pahang for 3 months

Malaysia's government says it will ban the mining of bauxite in Pahang state for three months from Jan. 15 to regulate the industry after its unfettered growth last year caused sea and air pollution.

Bauxite mining in the central state was bolstered from mid-2014 amid strong demand from China after Indonesia banned bauxite exports and India raised ore tariffs.

The mining sparked a public furor after it was blamed for contaminating part of the sea and some rivers in Pahang's capital of Kuantan, turning the waters red again last month after heavy rains. The water pollution first occurred in May last year.

Natural Resources Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar said Wednesday all mining will be halted under a three-month moratorium, to clear stockpiles and build proper facilities.