Lynas safety plan for rare earths

Posted on July 29, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

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LYNAS Corporation will submit safety plans for its Malaysian rare-earths processing plant by next month, as it races to gain government and regulatory approval to operate by the end of the year.

The safety plan, dealing with the long-term storage of radioactive waste produced by the plant, being built in Kuantan, in the state of Pahang, is one of 11 requirements imposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month.

The agency’s review found no breaches of international safety standards. In addition to the IAEA recommendations, Lynas and Malaysia’s atomic energy regulators have agreed to a health study to appease local communities.

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The plant has provoked community outrage over fears of possible radioactive contamination. This has led to sustained protests.

Rare earths are coveted for the role they play in a range of technologies, including hybrid cars, smartphones, iPads and flatscreen TVs. China has 97 per cent of global production but has been restricting exports, prompting a worldwide race by miners to overcome complex hurdles to enter production and meet surging demand.

Arafura Resources said yesterday it had made ”substantial” discoveries at a Northern Territory deposit.

Alkane Resources this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Mintech for a zirconium joint venture. Fledgling rare-earths miner Northern Minerals, in which Lynas has a 7.6 per cent stake, surged as much 15 per cent yesterday on news it had found ”significant” quantities of heavy rare earths at Browns Range in Western Australia.


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