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Cyanide

I first know of this cyanide mining in Bukit Koman thing from this blog entry, whose writer is residing KL but come from Bukit Koman.

Yes, cyanide!

Just in case you are lazy to read that wikipedia entry, I’ll summarize some here:

Many cyanide-containing compounds are highly toxic […] Cyanides have been used as poison many times throughout history. Its most infamous application was the use of hydrogen cyanide by the Nazi regime in Germany for mass murder in some gas chambers during the Holocaust.

And as I study marine biology, the most “noble” thing about cyanide to me is definitely:

Cyanide fishing is an illegal form of fishing common in South East Asia, which usually uses the sodium cyanide.

In humans [and fish], the [cyanide anion] blocks the oxygen-transporting protein haemoglobin […] oxygen is prevented from reaching the cells, and an effect similar to carbon monoxide poisoning results [which lead to unconsciousness].

Coral polyps, young fish and spawn are most vulnerable; adult fish can take somewhat higher doses.

And yeah, cyanide is used in gold/silver mining:

Gold and silver cyanides are among the very few soluble forms of these metals, and cyanides are thus used in mining.

Bukit Koman, located in Raub Pahang, was once famous for gold mining. Like many tin mines in the silver state, gold mining slowed down after 1960s and you only see a chinese new village lying on Bukit Koman.

In 2007, without acknowledging the villagers, the state government of Pahang approved a gold cyanide mining project, to Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd. The company is held by, well an MCA veteran’s son and one of its shareholder is allegedly His Royal Highness Sultan of Pahang’s daughter.

The mining site is said to be just 2m away from the nearest house.

State environment department said there’s nothing wrong with the mining project, even though it smells badly.

Police detained the people who brought foreign environmentalists into the mining site.

Villagers formed ad hoc Action Committee Against the Use of Cyanide in the mining operations. Chief minister said, “Sugar will cause diabetes, so why not we don’t eat sugar?”

While the lawsuit against the mining company is pending, Chong Sow Pin, a founding member and treasurer of the committee, found dead on Tuesday at his orchard some 8km from the village.

Chong sent his wife to live in KL, because both of them were quite ill, perhaps because of the “poisonous air” produced by the cyanide. He himself chose to stay in Bukit Koman, and would occasionally stay in his orchard for some fresh air… How ironic, my friends from elsewhere of the country would complain about the bad air in KL…

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300 over people went for Chong’s funeral, the Bukit Koman village has about 400 inhabitants…

The Member of Parliament of Raub, Ng Yen Yen, who is right now a Tourism Minister, could not be seen attending to the cyanide mining issues…

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When people go against development, because it would mean cutting down the trees, the “green lungs” or it would be unsustainable, the authority usually shot back by saying, “We have to sacrifice for development…”

Can people’s life and health be sacrificed for the development?

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Categories: Environment, Politics
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  1. June 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm

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