Sabah authority keeping tabs on Chinese-funded sand mine, solar panel plant

Sabah authority keeping tabs on Chinese-funded sand mine, solar panel plant

Kibing Solar Materials has invested around RM2.5 bil in two factories in state

KOTA KINABALU – Sabah’s Environment Protection Department is closely monitoring silica mining operations in Kudat and ongoing works at a solar panel manufacturing plant in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) carried out by Chinese-funded firm Kibing Solar Materials (M) Sdn Bhd.

The department’s director Vitalis Moduying said the firm has applied for a total of four environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and it has so far met all the requirements for the Kudat mining operations.

“The EIA for mining was already approved. But they have not started mining yet. Our department is constantly monitoring them,” he said.

Kibing Solar Materials has invested ¥4 billion (around RM2.5 billion) in two factories in Sabah namely, SBH Kibing Solar here at KKIP and SBH Kibing Silicon Kudat facilities, in the state’s northern district of Kudat.

Moduying said two other EIA reports come under his department – the construction of a jetty in Kudat and the site preparation for the SBH Kibing Solar plant in KKIP, near here.

The fourth EIA comes under the federal Environment Department, which Moduying said focused on factory operations.

Residents in five villages in Sikuati – Kg Bangau, Andab Bangau, Andab Darat, Kimihang, and Longgom Kecil – in Kudat have expressed opposition to mining operations near their homes as the Sabah government facilitates the realisation of the project.

WWF-Malaysia had also expressed concerns that the processing site will produce fine silica dust particles known to be hazardous to humans with long-term exposure.

– The Vibes, June 15, 2023

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