KUCHING: The Sarawak Quarries Association (SQA) has expressed its concern on the long waiting time for the renewal of quarry licence in the state.
The association also voiced uneasiness on the unclear guidelines on the terms and conditions for the renewal of quarry licence.
“These are among the major issues highlighted by our members pertaining to problems faced by the quarry industry in the state during our recent annual general meeting (AGM),” said its chairman Simon Lau.
“Several of our SQA members are still waiting for their licences to be renewed, even after more than a year. No specific time frame was given by the relevant authority as to how long the renewal application will take,” he added.
According to Lau, since the expiry of the quarry licence and the Covid-19 pandemic, the operators were facing financial loses and the workers had no income due to long period of unemployment.
“The SQA members wished to seek assistance from the government to expedite the quarry licence renewal process,” he said.
Lau said the SQA members had requested for the validity of the licence to be increased to at least 20 years or more.
This would allow long term planning such as quarry rehabilitation and to make it more conducive for quarry operators to invest more capital that could increase production and ensure a more sustainable quarry industry.
Lau said that the operators are also concerned with the implementation of the new terms and guidelines for the licence renewal and hoped that the government would invite them to jointly formulate the terms and conditions.
“The quarry industry is an integral part of the aggregate supply chain, which supports the infrastructure and construction developments in Sarawak. Any interruption of the supply chain would hamper the pace of Sarawak’s development.
“We would like to meet with the authority to seek their kind assistance and approval to expedite the renewal of quarry licenses.”
Lau said the close rapport and open communication between SQA and relevant agencies would ultimately benefit all parties concerned and the industry.