Tin Valley of the World Bright prospects over the next five years

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The Perak state government has identified the core economic development projects and key economic development sectors, including the once prosperous tin-mining industry. The following are the MB Inc’s action plan on the state’s mineral development.

A state rich in minerals, Perak may regain its position as one of the major mineral producers in the world.
A state rich in minerals, Perak may regain its position as one of the major mineral producers in the world.

With the support of the Perak state government, MB Inc. has concluded the preparation for the Mining Blueprint for the Development of Mineral Resources in Perak until the year 2020.

The Mining Blueprint took eight months to prepare and was launched on April 30, 2015. The importance of Perak’s mining vision is clearly stated in the Mining Blueprint, which brings a renewed focus on the wealth of natural resources to help the state achieve its Perak Amanjaya aspiration.

The blueprint has outlined 10 key recommendations developed from comprehensive findings that will become a source of guidelines for policymakers, investors, decision makers and stakeholders for the development of mineral resources in Perak up to 2020.

Perak had identified that in order to revitalize the mining industry, state government need to address issues on talent and human capital development and management, enhance collaborative initiatives and information sharing among agencies and improve the existing infrastructure and logistics.

One of the pilot projects from this blueprint is the development of “Tin Valley,” a cluster development concept comprising integrated value chains; both upstream and downstream activities supported by research organizations: Mining Academy, training institutions and other related facilities.

A steering committee for the “Implementation of Blueprint for the Development of Mineral Resources in Perak” has been set up with the objective of ensuring that the recommendations from the Mining Blueprint are implemented to best achieve the desired outcome of the state in developing the sector in a cohesive manner.

This committee is to be chaired by the State Secretary of Perak and the committee members include the heads and representatives from state agencies such as Minerals and Geoscience Department inclusive of Mineral Research Centre and Technical Services Division, Lands and Mines Department, Forestry Department, Department of Town and Country Planning, State Economic Planning Unit, State Department of Irrigation and Drainage, State Department of Environment and Menteri Besar Incorporated which will be held quarterly to monitor the progress of the Mining Blueprint implementation.

The purpose of revitalizing former tin mines and Tin Valley in Pengkalan. Hulu Perak is blessed with an abundance of mineral resources and is contributing some 85% of total tin production in Malaysia.

Globally as per the Mining Blueprint findings, there is a scarce supply of tin due to Indonesian production possibly falling by 50% over the next decade and China’s slowly mine production. However, the demand forecast is expected to exceed supply over the next five years, as tin is the core element of manufacturing sectors including consumer goods, packaging, construction, vehicles and other forms of transportation. Perak has good chances of becoming a leading world producer accounting for 10% of global output while providing a positive impact to the regional economy.

Therefore, it is crucial for the Perak state government, among the agencies and associated stakeholders, to focus on intensive mineral resource development program sustainably to realize the state’s mining vision, hence Perak Amanjaya.

Perak is currently the leading tin producer in Malaysia. Moving forward, the state is further developing downstream activities such as tin plating, soldering, electronics, chemicals and alloys. Domestic and foreign investments are welcome in Perak to explore, set up new mining sites as well as redevelop tin mines besides improving the existing logistics services and infrastructure. ITRI Limited UK (formerly known as International Tin Research Institute) has made in-depth reviews on tin industry, markets and technologies. Perak will adhere to Mining Blueprint recommendations to ensure vibrant downstream businesses.

Tin Valley is one of the key pilot projects for Perak to transform its mining industry. Being a cluster development for Perak, the Tin Valley will maximize the value of mineral resources in the entire value chain including exploration, processing and smelting. Components such as research and development (R&D) organizations, training institutions and well equipped high­tech facilities are expected to set up operations in the state soon.

Perak is rich in natural resources while tin has made significant contributions towards the economy of the state and even the entire nation. Perak used to be the largest tin producer in the world before tin prices crashed during the 1980s. Other than the Rahman hydraulic tin mine (and a tin smelting plant) still operating after more than a hundred years in Kroh, Hulu Perak, the tin mining industry is almost non-existent in the state today. However, due to the rapid development in technology and the rising demand for this metal, tin prices have since recovered, standing at more than ten times its levels in 1985, thus offering an opportunity o reawaken the dormant tin-mining industry in Perak.

According to the state government’s report, tin-mining and quarrying industries contributed to the state’s RM5.6 million tax revenue in 2011, jumping to almost RM54.1 million in 2012 and over RM60 million in 2013, a ten-fold increase, directly boosting the state government’s tax revenue. The MB Inc under the state government has been tasked to manage, develop and revitalize the tin-mining industry in the state.

The state government has identified more than 10 potential new mines in the vicinity of Kroh, and is hopeful the state will become the world’s largest tin producer once again by 2020. As such, the Perak state government is working closely with the International Tin Research Institute (ITRI) to map out a Perak Mining Masterplan that encompasses the limestone, granite, construction sand, silica gravel, silica sand, kaolinite, clay and rock, with a focus on tin in a bid to revitalize the tin-mining industry in creating a Tin Valley. Currently there are some 30 tin mines still in operation and these have helped promote the upstream and downstream industries as well as university research works in tin technological products.

Meanwhile, the quarrying industry has been in existence for 40 years, and has been contributing significantly to the state government’s tax revenue particularly in the past 20 years. Perak has the richest quarry resources in all of Malaysia, especially limestone and cement. According to the 2014 report, there are some 60 quarrying sites in Perak, 30 of them rich in tin deposits, white clay and iron.

The city of Ipoh is known for its multitude of limestone hills which are rich in calcium carbonate present in chalk, limestone rocks, granite, other rocks. Calcium carbonate is also one of the most important raw material for industrial uses. The limestone hills in Ipoh boast very rich calcium carbonate content, and this has drawn the investment of world-class manufacturer such as OMYA of France and Imerys of the Netherlands to set up operating bases in the suburbs of Ipoh.

Meanwhile, Pulai Rock, a local company, is a producer of high-quality calcium carbonate limestone lumps. The company’s boss Datuk Goh Ri Fatt says the local economy of Simpang Pulai outside Ipoh owes its prosperity to the quarrying industry.

18 valuable minerals

According to studies, Malaysia possesses a total of 21 types of rich natural mineral resources of which 18 can be found in Perak alone. Other than serving as a pride for the state of Perak, the state government is also tasked with the mission to work together with other relevant agencies as well as operators to effectively protect the environment for the state’s sustained development.

Malaysia possesses a total of 21 types of rich natural mineral resources of which 18 can be found in Perak alone.
Malaysia possesses a total of 21 types of rich natural mineral resources of which 18 can be found in Perak alone.

Among Perak’s rich mineral resources are tin, kaolin, clay, manganese, silica gel and marble. Perak is still boasting rich tin deposits, and has become the primary producer of tin in the whole of Malaysia. The district of Hulu Perak is the most important mining area in the state.

Perak also produces high-quality kaolin which is processed into a wide range of products in the state. Kaolin is a kind of non-metallic mineral.

Kaolin boasts very comprehensive uses, mainly in the manufacture of paper, pottery and fire-resistant materials. It can also be used for paint, and as rubber filler and white cement raw material. Kaolin is also used in small quantities in plastic, dye, grinding wheel, pencil, cosmetics, soap, agricultural chemicals, medicine, textile industry, petroleum, chemical industry, construction material and defense industry, among others.

Advantage in biotechnology development

Perak is gifted with wide expanse of virgin forests and rich biological resources, which are the pre-conditions for the research and development in biotechnology. The state government of Perak therefore devotes itself to the enhanced biological studies in northern part of the state. This, coupled with the establishment of a biotechnology research center here, has made Perak a good candidate for large scale biological research region in the world.

Malaysia is recognized as one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world.
Malaysia is recognized as one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world.

The state holds enormous potentials in biotechnology development with a total of eight bio-satellite centers, including Royal Belum State Park, Lumut Biofuel Center, Aquacultural farms, Kinta Highland Biotechnology Park, Meru Raya and Lenggong Highland Biotechnology Park.

Since Malaysia has been widely recognized as one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world, Perak has good chances of converting the state’s biological resources into wealth-generating job opportunities thanks to its ambitious biotechnology development.

The biotechnology sector is also poised to make significant contributions towards the agricultural, healthcare, and processing industries as well as environmental preservation in the state. The Perak state has invested large sums of money to ensure that the biotechnology sector will bring enormous economic benefits to the state.

Halal industry

The halal industry boasts a massive global market of 1.5 billion consumers.
The halal industry boasts a massive global market of 1.5 billion consumers.

Malaysia is the originating country of international halal food industry standards, and this has given country an edge to pioneer this particular sector using academic studies and industrial system as the foundation to create a solid and stable international halal food industry.

To capture the massive 1.5 billion global halal industry market, Perak has become one of the earliest states to have spearheaded the halal industrial park development in the country. Under the National Food Terminal (Teman) program initiated by the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA), the state of Perak has taken the lead in developing halal industrial parks in three areas, namely Chemor, Changkat Jering and Lekir.

Perak has been singled out as the pioneer state in halal industrial park development mainly because of the state’s vast commodity resources including poultry products, fruits and vegetables, among others, providing the facility for the development of this industrial sector.

The Perak state government has affordably priced land for local businesses to develop the halal food industry, making investors even more willing to invest in this sector.

 

Maritime engineering

Maritime engineering is a major part in the economic development of Perak.
Maritime engineering is a major part in the economic development of Perak.

Maritime engineering is a major part in the economic development of Perak, and is part of the state’s government’s plan to transform the local economy towards a high-income state objective. Ever since the federal government has decided to develop a 70-hectare plot of land in Lumut into the Perak maritime shipyard center, this area has become a major base for the country’s maritime engineering industry.

Following the participation of several private companies, the maritime shipyard center has begun to grow phenomenally. Sapura Kencana Group is one of the consortia actively taking part in this project. Its maritime industrial development along the banks of Dinding River has seen explosive growth in recent years, creating numerous job opportunities for the people in the state.

SapuraKencana has since 2007 provided natural gas, petroleum and maritime engineering training courses for students of UiTM, Petronas University, Mara Institute of Technology and some 30 other government and private institutions of higher learning in the country, allowing the students interested in maritime industry to go through six months of on-site training.