Lynas Malaysia refinery unsafe: protesters

Posted on November 30, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |


A CROWD has gathered in Sydney to protest against an Australian company’s rare earth refinery in Malaysia, which they say is unsafe for locals.

Around 20 protesters today rallied outside the annual general meeting of Lynas Corporation, which is close to completing construction of its refinery in the Malaysian region of Kuantan.

Environmental groups fear the plant poses radioactivity risks and NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said Lynas should immediately halt construction of the plant.

“Lynas should not be pushing ahead with this operation in Malaysia,” she told the rally.

“There’s very strong opposition from the local community in Kuantan and there’s every reason that this toxic waste should not be left in Malaysia.

“The refinery should not even be built.”

Lynas insists the plant poses no environmental risk and is pushing ahead with the development, with production due to start early 2012.

At the AGM, executive chairman Nick Curtis said the plant was safe, but admitted the company had not done enough to reassure locals.

“We acknowledge, that notwithstanding earlier community outreach programs in 2009 we have clearly not done enough to build community confidence,” he told shareholders.

Public protests about the company’s Kuantan refinery this year prompted an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Lynas received a favourable report from the IAEA, but was told to provide a long-term waste management plan.

Ken Ooi, whose family lives near the plant, said he was worried about potential radioactivity.

“My family lives nearby and my relatives are fisherman,” he said.

“If Lynas builds, it will affect the fish in the area.”

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