Malaysia has long been recognised as one of the world’s leading tin producers. It’s minerals industry contributes almost 7% to the country’s GDP. Apart from tin, Malaysia is also an important producer of copper, bauxite, gold and ilmenite. The country’s mineral production decreased as a result of poor metal prices.

The performance of the mining industry in 2003 was encouraging.Production of gold, iron ore, kaolin, silica sand, struverite and monazite increased compared to previous year. This is due to higher mineral price as well as better demand from local and foreign consumers. There were 70 mines operating at the end of the year employing a total of 3,249 workers. Other minerals such as zircon, ilmenite, rutile, monazite and struverite were produced from the Amang Retreatment Plants.

The total mineral export value in 2003 registered an overall decrease of 16 percent to RM119 million compared with RM143 million in 2002. The export value of metallic mineral ores and concentrates in year 2003 registered a decrease of 51 percent to RM25.2 million compared with RM51.4 million in 2002. The decrease was caused by the decreased in export of all metallic minerals especially with no export of iron ore recorded in 2003.

However, the export value of non-metallic minerals in 2003 recorded an increased of 3 percent to RM93.6 million compared with RM91.1 million in 2002. The major non-metallic minerals exported were: limestone with a value of RM31.5 million; kaolin, RM16.7 million and clay, RM15.1 million.

During 2003, the overall import value of minerals increased by 9 percent from the previous year with a value of RM1,662 million. The import value of all minerals group, metallic, non-metallic, and energy minerals registered an increase. Amongst of the major mineral commodities imported were coal with a value of RM654 million; iron ore, RM362 million; tin ore, RM192 million; clay, RM116 million; and phosphate, RM91 million.