MALAYSIA will explore higher revenue from its mineral resources, which it sees as an under-achieving sector of the economy.
Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said mining only contributed RM9.9 billion or 0.7% to the GDP in 2019, out of a potential mineral value of RM4.11 trillion.
He said mineral resources can improve people’s wellbeing, but the industry must be developed in a sustainable way that will not harm the environment and national biodiversity system.
“Malaysia must wisely position itself as a country rich in mineral products, and explore and develop the resources that we have,” Muhyiddin said in his keynote address at the launching of the National Mineral Industry Transformation Plan framework 2020-2030 in Putrajaya yesterday.
“Nevertheless, although we agree on the importance of minerals and their benefits to the economy, it does not mean that the government allows activities in this industry to be carried out without control,” Muhyiddin said.
According to a study by the Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia (JMG), there are RM4.11 trillion worth of mineral resources in the country such as metallic minerals which are estimated at RM1.03 trillion, non-metallic minerals (RM2.96 trillion) and energy minerals (RM120 billion).
However, Malaysia still heavily imports minerals. In 2019, the country imported RM90.96 billion worth of minerals and mineral-based products, higher than the RM59.4 billion worth of minerals that it exported.
Muhyiddin said the government also aims to ensure more Malaysians are employed at the added-value end of the industry.
He said the industry has created more than 15,000 job opportunities, but Malaysians are not proportionately employed at the downstream end.
He said the government’s 10-year masterplan will transform the industry to return as a big GDP contributor.
“The government aims for the mineral industry to contribute RM29 billion to the national GDP in 2030.
“To achieve this, consultation and engagement sessions must continue between the federal and state governments, industry players, academicians and the public to explore more ideas to develop this industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (right) said the government has allocated RM87.2 million to the ministry in the 12th Malaysia Plan, spanning over the next five years.
The allocation will be parked at the JMG and will be used to develop more sustainable mineral activities.
This includes matters related to the evaluation of the country’s mineral resources, developing an integrated mining and quarry monitoring system, and certification processes on the use of sustainable development indicators in commercialising the mineral products.
“The emphasis will be on the principles of accountability and sustainability in handling the mining works, exploration, processing and production of mineral-based products,” Shamsul Anuar said.
At the event, JMG also signed a memorandum of understanding with Ranhill Utilities Bhd and the Malaysian Chamber of Mines to collaborate in the national mineral industry.