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Malaysia prolongs ban on bauxite mining to empty stockpiles

In order to empty stockpiles and prevent contamination, the Malaysiangovernment has extended its bauxitemining ban for another three months, starting April 15, Reuters reportedApril 8, citing Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Malaysia's natural resources and environmentminister.

About 3.6 million tonnes of bauxite is stocked in Kuantan, andthese must be exported before the ban is ended.

"This is so that we remove the possibility of remnants ofthe bauxite stockpile contaminating the river and sea in the event of rain,"the minister noted.

The issuance of bauxite permits will also resume to help minersclear stockpiles. However, miners will have to apply for an additional extensionif they are unable to empty supplies within three months.

The extended ban would only have a minor impact given China'sample stocks and weak prices on the London Metal Exchange, said Xu Hongping, ananalyst at China Merchants Futures.

"China has also started importing bauxite from Guinea, whichshould replace the bulk of demand from Malaysia," Xu noted.