Malaysia keeps tight lid on Aussie rare earth mill

Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-AP-

Malaysia says it is keeping strict watch over a $230 million rare-earth refinery being built by Australian miner Lynas Corp. Ltd. amid concerns of radioactive pollution.

The plant is believed to be the first such facility outside China in decades. It is aimed at reducing Beijing’s monopoly on the global supply of rare earth minerals used to manufacture certain high-technology goods.

Critics voiced concerns Thursday about health and environmental risks from radioactive waste. A rare earth plant by Mitsubishi Chemicals is still undergoing a massive cleanup despite closing in 1992.

Malaysia’s atomic energy agency says Lynas must have a solid waste management plan before it gets an operating license.

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