Plant & Equipment

20 foot flyrock lands on housing

On 6 April, the boulder smashed its way down the mountainside from the top of the Kukusan Forest Reserve after a powerful round of rock blasting. The impact damaged nine houses and injured about a dozen people.
?We notified the police, fire department and emergency services and immediately suspended the operations,? said Ron Delany, the CEO of Hap Seng Building Materials. ?We are taking all reasonable steps to stabilise the area. The boulder was approximately 590 tonnes and broke through three levels of bund wall protection.?
Three bund walls have protected the area in the past. The quarry has operated on this site since the 1970s under a lease from the forestry department.
“The loose boulder came from the 6.9-hectare Trig Reserve at the top of a 600ft high Class 2 Kukusan Forest Reserve which shouldn’t be touched in the first place,” claimed Gary Yap, head of the Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA), Tawau.
“It is obvious that the environmental impact assessment for the quarry which the Department of Environment (DOE) had approved failed to consider the serious hazards to the residents immediately below the hill from blasting such a sensitive and much loved hill like this,” Yap said.
Delany countered, however, that Trig Reserve was removed several years ago on agreement with the land and survey department and that the Hap Seng operations are fully licensed by all departments.
SEPA wants the local police to take action against the quarry operator for negligence. However, all the houses affected were within the quarry boundary. According to Delany, the boulder did not leave the quarry site. The dwellings were illegally constructed and should not have been lived in. 
It is understood that 12 families comprising 65 people, mostly locals, lost their homes and three women were among those hurt. There were four people hospitalised, one with a fractured pelvis, one with a cut on the leg requiring stitches and two with bruises. The Civil Defence Department treated several villagers with minor injuries at the scene.
District Police Chief ACP Awang Besar Dullah advised locals living in 300 homes at the area to leave, especially those living at the foot of the hill.
?We will complete our investigation in consultation with the mines department before recommencing operations,? said Delany.
Source: Daily Express (Malaysia). With thanks to Hap Seng Building Materials CEO Ron Delany for his comments.

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