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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook mineral industries of Asia and the Pacific 1992
Year 1992, Volume 3 (1992)

Wu, John C.
Malaysia,   pp. [248]-258 ff. PDF (2.7 MB)

Page 252

252  THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF MALAYSIA—1992a civil suit to stop
from operating until proper safety measures were taken to prevent escape
of the radioactive gases from the plant. The plant was shut down for more
than a year, but ARE resumed operation in February 1987 claiming that 
~ it had complied with the safety measures, 
~ while storing the low-level waste at a 
~ nearby site in Mukim Belanja. 
In July 1992, Malaysia's high court 
~ ordered a complete shutdown of the plant on the grounds that the plant
was producing and storing radioactive waste and was endangering the health
of nearby residents. However, ARE contended that it was operating the plant
and storing radioactive waste in accordance with Malaysian laws. ARE appealed
to Malaysia's Supreme Court in late July to reverse the ruling. In August,
Malaysia's Supreme Court ruled that ARE can remain in operation while it
appeals against a plant closure ordered by a lower 
 Tin.—Malaysia's tin industry contracted further in 1992 because
the continued low level of tin prices on the KLTM and the decision by the
major mining companies to close down tin mines and shift part of their mining
business to produce construction materials or industrial minerals. By the
end of 1992, the total number of operating mines declined to 63 from 92 in
1991, and the total number of tin miners dropped to 4,672 in 1992 from 6,594
in 1991. As a result, the 1992 mine output of tin dropped to the lowest level
in Malaysia's post-World War II tin mining history. Of the tin produced in
1992, 43 % was by dredging, 27 % by gravel pumping, 1 1 % each by open pits
and panning, and 8% by others. 
 According to Malaysia's Department of Mines, the 1992 monthly output of
tin decreased to 1 ,20 1 tons in December from 1 ,621 tons in January. The
total number of operating mines decreased to 63 in December from 89 in January.
1992, the total number of tin miners declined to 4,672 in December from 6,
1 15 in January. The dredging sector shut down 6 dredges and laid off 1,213
workers, while the gravel-pumping sector 
closed 14 mines and laid off 456 miners in 1992. During 1992, the tin industry,
as a whole, shut down 14 gravel-pumping mines, 6 dredges, 2 open pit mines,
and 7 underground mines and incurred the loss of 1,922 jobs. However, many
of the laid-off tin miners reportedly were able to fmd jobs in the growing
manufacturing and construction industries. 
 Production of tin metal by Datuk 
Keramat Smelter Bhd. and Malaysia 
Smelting Corp. Bhd. increased slightly in 
1992. To fully utilize its tin smelting 
capacity, Malaysia continued to import ~ record amounts of tin concentrate
at 58,638 tons containing 33,147 tons of tin in 1992 mainly from Australia,
~ and China to supplement the declining 
~ supply of domestic concentrate. 
Malaysia exported 45, 150 tons of 
~ refined tin in 1992 compared with 42,425 
~ tons in 1991. The major buyer of 
~ Malaysia's refined tin in 1992 was Japan, 
~ followed by the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.
In 1992, export earnings from tin rose 8.4% to $270 million. According to
the Malaysian Department of Mines, domestic demand for refined tin rose 20.4%
to 4,101 tons in 1992. Of the total domestic tin consumption, 1,918 tons
was consumed by the solder industry, 8 10 tons by the tinpiating industry,
578 tons by the pewter industry, and 795 tons by other. 
Industrial Minerals 
 Cement.—Because of a steady growth in demand for cement by the
industry, Malaysia's cement production reached a record of 8.3 Mmt in 1992.
Malaysia has nine cement plants, of which seven were in peninsular Malaysia
and two (grinding plants) in east Malaysia. The industry's total clinker
capacity expanded to 8.5 Mmt/a, and grinding capacity was about 9 Mmt/a in
 Because of growing domestic demand, four major cement producers announced
expansion plans to be completed in the next 3 years. Cement Industries Malaysia
Sdn. Bhd. planned to modernize its 
Kangar works at Bukit Ketri for increasing capacity from 1 .2 Mmt/a to 2.7
Mmt/a by February 1994. Tasek Cement Bhd. planned to raise its capacity to
1.4 Mmt/a by mid-1993. PerakHanjong Cement Sdn. Bhd. planned to expand its
capacity to 1.8 Mmt/a in 1993 and to 2.4 Mmt/a by 1995. Kedah Cement Sdn.
Bhd. , Malaysia's second largest cement producer, was doubling clinker capacity
at its Langkawi plant to 3 Mmt/a by 1993. 
 Titanium.—Most ilmenite concentrate was recovered as a byproduct
tin tailing treatment plants operating in the States of Perak and Selangor.
Production ofilmenite concentrate remained steady in 1992. However, exports
of ilmenite concentrate dropped to 140,878 in 1992 from 202,833 tons in 1991.
Export earnings of ilmenite concentrate were valued at $12.2 million in 1992.
 Malaysia Titanium Corp. Sdn. Bhd. (MTC) commissioned a 50,000-mt/a synthetic
rutile plant in Ipoh, Perak, in 1991. The plant was refurbished in 1990 at
a cost of $1 1 .6 million. Texas-based Hitox Corp. of America, the majority
owner of MTC, raised its equity ownership to 78.27 % by injecting additional
capital in March 199 1 and in June 1992. The remaining 21.73% is owned by
Airtrust International Corp. of Singapore. 
 The rehabilitated chloride-process synthetic rutile plant reportedly began
commercial operation in September 1991 following 8 months of test operation.
In 1991, about 12,000 tons of synthetic rutile was shipped to Hitox's milling
facilities in Corpus Christi, Texas, and 500 tons was exported to Spain.
After 5 months of operation in 1992, the plant was shut down for the installation
of an afterburner and boiler. The plant will resume operation in 1993 . To
operate the synthetic rutile plant, MTC was required to apply for a license
from the Malaysia Atomic Energy Licensing Board (MAELB) because the Malaysian
ilmenite, which was recovered from tin tailings, contains small amounts of
radioactive compounds. Since 1991, ~ MTC's plant had been operating under

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