Tawau: A Tawau feedmill executive said Thursday the mill's siting in Tanjung Batu is in order as it is located within a general industrial area.
He also ruled out potential pollution fears raised by nearby residents who contacted the Daily Express last week.
The residents had sought an assurance from the authorities that the mill's operation will neither be smelly nor dusty or noisy.
"The whole processing operation will be enclosed and the feed materials used will be dry corn and soya destined for chicken and prawn farms," said the executive in a telephone interview.
Tawau alone has about 6,000 acres of prawn farms and numerous chicken farms.
"Furthermore, most of the processed feeds will go straight to the dockyard to be barged out to other towns and the lorries we are going to use for overland transportation will be enclosed silo trucks," he pointed out.
He said given a production capacity of 25 tons per hour, overland transportation will average no more than one truck per hour, he said.
Citing proof that the mill is in a general industrial land, he said the feedmill is just a stone's throw from a series of huge petroleum storage tanks, sawmills, crude palm oil storage facilities and cocoa processing factories which include cocoa fermentation facilities.
Convoys of lorries are already plying the area daily, ferrying such products especially when a crude palm oil tanker is in port.
Most of residents in the area are factory workers and their families are living in squatter houses.
Local government by-laws, in fact, bar housing within half a kilometre of a petroleum storage area.
Within sight from the area is a huge quarry which involves almost daily blasting of a once magnificent Tawau Hill for its granite stones.
The nearest feedmills from Tawau are either 450km away, in Kota Kinabalu or 830km down south in Balikpapan in Indodesian Kalimantan.
Given that transportation cost of feed from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau is about RM100 per ton, the executive asserted that a feedmill in Tawau will cut feed costs by 18 per cent.
"This will help to keep both the poultry and prawn culture industries competitive in the face of challenges from other BIMP-EAGA producers, particularly immediate neighbour Indonesia," he said.
That is, if the transport cost savings are passed on to the producers.
Note: Pollution and health hazard from feedmills owned by Comsa and stone quarry owned by Otentik Sdn Bhd. has never been solved. It was said that they paid out big sum of money to certain government officers to keep their business going.