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KUALA LUMPUR (June 25): The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) has so far issued 11 Approved Permits (AP) for river sand exports.

It is understood that the AP holders are allowed to export river sand and other minerals to Brunei, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Maldives.

The Ministry could not be reached for comment on the matter.

It was reported by the media that Malaysia has banned the export of sea sand for environmental reasons. River sand is permitted for export with the Prime Minister’s approval.

Pekan-based Legasi Lestari Sdn Bhd is one of the companies that has been granted the AP issued by KesTSA with validity until July 2027.

ACE market-listed Kanger International Bhd announced that it is forming a joint venture with Legasi Lestari to export sand to China and Hong Kong.

According to a filing with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, Legasi Lestari was founded in July 2012 with a share capital of RM2 million. However, it is understood that the company commenced exporting river sand from 2017.

The major shareholders of Legasi Lestar are Rahim Ali, who owns a 50% stake in the company, Ainfarynor Andiana Rabuang @ Rabuan, with a 40% stake, and Datuk Wan Mohamad Razali Wan Mahussin, who owns the remaining 10% stake.

For the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018 (FY18), Legasi Lestari was loss making with a net loss of RM239,129. The company’s total assets stood at RM793,302 with retained loss of RM1.96 million as at end-2018.

It is understood that Lestari’s latest move of appointing distributorship to Kanger to explore the China and Hong Kong market is to leverage on the latter’s operational experience in China.

Kanger’s spokesperson told theedgemarkets that at the current stage, the two parties are still in the exploring phase.

Another listed company that drew eyeballs on the sand export venture recently is Ageson Bhd, which was slapped with a query from Bursa Malaysia, after announcing it has bagged a mammoth RMB44.8 billion (RM27.5 billion) purchase order from Guangzhou Kaishengda Industrial Co Ltd for the supply of river and sea sand for 15 years.

In the latest development, Ageson forms a 70-30 joint venture with Bintang Dayang Sdn Bhd (BDSB), which has sand operation business partners, namely Tagas Juta Sdn Bhd (TJSB) and Malayan Energistik Solutions Sdn Bhd (MESSB).

TJSB is a holder of a sand concession licence from Sabah with validity until December 2021. It undertakes sand dredging activities from the river at Sungai Labuk, Beluran in Sabah for sand export to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

As for MESSB, it had received the special approval from the Chief Minister's Department of Sabah to allow for annual export of 10 million cubic metres of sand in three years, even without an Approved Permit from the Federal Government, if the sand is exported to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Macau.

According to World’s Top Exports, an independent educational website, Malaysia is one of the top 10 exporters of sand in the world, and is also one of the fastest-growing sand exporters, rising 103.9% from 2015.

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