6 August 2013, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
As part of its quarry development programme, Lafarge Malaysia’s Kanthan plant, in Perak, has taken a number of steps to protect biodiversity within its quarry, which has been subject to increased exposure over the last few months.
After a sudden increase in the number of people visiting the quarry, and Kanthan Cave (or ‘Cathedral Cave’ as it is popularly known) in particular, the plant has taken measures to restrict access to the area to protect the biodiversity within the cave until the findings of external experts have been completed.
Kanthan plant manager, Sekar Kaliannan explains: “Local people may be aware of our plans to develop our quarry, which is important in providing the necessary raw materials required for cement manufacturing. Preliminary studies by the University of Malaya’s Institute of Biological Sciences, who is working with us on this project, have indicated that Kanthan Cave could contain ‘sensitive biodiversity’, which we have a responsibility to manage and protect as part of our development programme.
“Unfortunately, inaccurate publicity about our plans has also encouraged a big increase in visitors to the cave whose presence and activities could upset this sensitive biodiversity. Therefore, we are taking steps to erect signage and restrict access to the cave whilst the university completes its studies alongside members of Lafarge’s International Biodiversity Panel.”
In particular, Kanthan Cave appears to be home to, amongst others, an endemic trapdoor spider, which is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Further work will be undertaken in understanding its presence, along with the development of measures to fully protect any endangered species.
Sekar adds: “Our quarry development programme has identified two areas for development, which can be identified as Area ‘C’ and Area ‘D’. With Kanthan Cave’s presence in Area ‘D’, our focus is on managing this biodiversity-rich area appropriately.
“However, initial studies of Area ‘C’ which is on the other side of the southern part of Kanthan Hill, indicate that it does not contain sensitive biodiversity, and a number of caves in this area have been used in recent years without permission. In fact, this activity may have disturbed the presence of biodiversity in these caves.
“Due to the non-authorized access to this land by external parties and nearby quarrying activities, we have erected signage for safety reasons. The plant is liaising with local stakeholders, including the State Government, on understanding the use of these caves. At the same time, we need to confirm the preliminary biodiversity screening that Area ‘C’ does not contain sensitive biodiversity as part of a complete overall study, before launching the 18 months’ of preparation work that will be necessary prior to accessing these raw materials in the future.”
Kanthan plant maintains an ‘open door’ policy and anyone who would be interested in understanding more about Kanthan plant’s quarry development programme are encouraged to email their enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
About Lafarge Malaysia Berhad
Lafarge Malaysia Berhad (formerly known as Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad) is the parent of a group of companies in Malaysia and Singapore whose core businesses are in the manufacturing and sale of cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and other related building materials. It built the country’s first cement plant in 1953 and currently has over 1,500 employees. Lafarge is the leader in the cement industry in Malaysia, operating a nationwide network of facilities that includes three integrated cement plants in Langkawi, Kanthan and Rawang, a grinding plant in Pasir Gudang and distribution channels by road, rail and sea. Lafarge is also one of the leading ready-mixed concrete companies in Malaysia with more than 30 batching plants throughout Peninsular Malaysia. Additional information is available at www.lafarge.com.my
1. Syed Muhammad Syed Nadzir
2. Janet Lim