sign in a cave in Laos

21 January 2014

Lafarge's destruction of Gunung Kanthan Jan 2014

First blog of the year and it is not good news. Lafarge seem to be continuing their relentless onslaught of destruction on Gunung Kanthan. They are heading for the area of hill where Gua Kanthan is located.

Despite Lafarge saying (in Sept 2013) they would not start work on area C until 15-20 months time, as they have first to build access roads up the hill to make it safe, they already seem to be heading towards C.

Area C is where the monastery cave is, Gua Dhamma Sakyamuni, as well as Gua Tokong Gufodong & Gua Sungai Gufodong. Area D is where Gua Kanthan and the other smaller caves are, also the Zhi Nan Gong temple. Lafarge can only access D from C. 

According to reports, Lafarge are busy building a ramp up the isolated piece of hill between B and C (at the northern end of C). Some people think this ramp is now leading into the swampy forest near C. Lafarge are working day and night, 7 days a week.

This area is particularly important as it is currently untouched limestone forest, and is home to many species of flora and fauna, several of which are on national and international lists as endangered species. The area is also hydrologically important.

Photos taken by helicopter camera show the current state of destruction. This photo was taken in Nov 2013 by Ong Poh Teck -

There is no sign yet of the report of the biodiversity study done by UM over the last 6+ months. Lafarge did tell us (MNS etc) that the report would be made available.

Perak State government does nothing. They gave Lafarge the permit to quarry the hill.

Gua Kanthan is a magnificent cave with a variety of cave fauna. The most important inhabitants are the trapdoor spiders, Liphistius kanthan. They are listed on IUCN Red List as critically endangered. All the cave creatures play a part in the cave ecosystem. Apart from this cave there are various other smaller caves.

Large mammals such as serow (mountain goats) and monkeys live on the hill. If the hill is destroyed these animals will have nowhere to go as the hill is already an island surrounded by a main road and smaller roads, industry, housing, farmed areas and plantations.

Lafarge claim they "are committed to the protection of the environment". But their claims seem to relate to areas AFTER they have been quarried. See this link that says -
"Develop a rehabilitation plan for all quarry sites that responds to the needs and expectations of our stakeholders and, where feasible, fosters wildlife habitat creation and contributes to the conservation of endangered species"

The species existing now can't be protected if the hill is destroyed.

Lafarge seem to have no conscience. They don't seem to care about making species extinct. This makes a mockery of what they claim on their website. Maybe they want to be known as the international company that has wiped out several Red Listed and Critically Endangered species.

[Note - I have not listed here the Gunung Kanthan flora and fauna that is endangered. This is intentional]

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission