16 August 2013
Quarry’s Response to Complaints
Quarry's response to compaints-1Lafarge Malaysia’s Kanthan plant in Chemor has taken a number of steps to protect biodiversity within its quarry, which has received adverse publicity the last few months.
After a sudden increase in the number of people visiting the quarry, and Kanthan Cave (or Cathedral Cave) in particular, the plant has restricted public 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, in a press statement explains: “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.”
The 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.
“Our quarry development programme,” said Sekar “has identified two areas for development. They are 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.”
In view of this, the company has erected signage to warn visitors. The plant will also liaise with interested parties, including the state government, on understanding the use of these caves. Preliminary biodiversity screening of Area C to determine its sensitivity will be done before the launch of the 18-month preparatory work prior to accessing raw materials from the said area.
Kanthan plant maintains an ‘open-door policy’ and anyone who is keen to know more about the plant’s quarry development programme is encouraged to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.