Rare earth report ‘political ploy’

Posted on December 22, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-Malay Mail–
Kuantan MP questions credibility of study by sciences academy and professors’ council
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 10:42:00
LynasNOT THE RIGHT WAY: Fuziah says it is wrong for the report to state that rare earth would boost the country’s green technology

SHAH ALAM: Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has lambasted a report on rare earth by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and National Professors’ Council of Malaysia (NPCM), questioning the study’s credibility.

She said the report, released on Tuesday, was misleading and politically-motivated.

The report, titled Rare Earth Industries: Moving Malaysia’s Green Economy Forward, was funded by both ASM and NPCM, which are under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Higher Education Ministry, respectively.

It endorsed the importance of rare earth industries in developing Malaysia’s green economy and said the risks involved with Lynas Corp’s rare earth processing refinery was manageable.

Fuziah, who is also a PKR vice-president, said ASM and NPCM had placed their reputation on the line by becoming the government’s “mouthpiece”.

“I think it should be fully understood by all that it is a political statement to support the existence and presence of Lynas. It is meant to support the wrong decision made by the government. I see them as just a mouth piece for the government,” she told reporters at a press conference at the Selangor state government building yesterday.

“The government has made a mistake so they have to cover it up and make a statement like that which I can contest based on facts.”

Fuziah said the report only addressed risks involved in the external radiation from the Gebeng plant.

“It is correct for ASM to say that the risk from the external radiation is manageable but it is wrong for them not mention all the other risks,” she said.

“However, risks like internal emitters, the environment, public health, ground water, location of the plant in Gebeng which is on pit soil, its location near the river and sea, and tons of hazardous fluid discharged into our river daily, all these were not addressed.”

She also disagreed with the report’s assessment that rare earth industry would boost green technology in the country.

“I would like to refute the said statement because the fact is, Malaysia does not have a huge amount rare earth reserve. Malaysia has 0.03 per cent of the world’s rare earth reserve,” she said.

“This means that rare earth used by the said refinery is not from Malaysia but from Ausralia and maybe Malawi and other countries.”

Fuziah said the rare earth industry would not develop but instead destroy Pahang’s economy.

“Yes, the production of rare earth elements contributes to green technology but there is nothing green in the process of extracting the rare earth element,” she said.

Lynas has faced continued public resistance over its controversial RM1.5 billion rare earth plant in Gebeng, expected to be operational by early next year.

The plant is reported to be 85 per cent completed but the government has yet to issue a pre-operational licence to Lynas.

Rare earth metals are used in manufacturing hybrid and electronic vehicles, solar and wind-powered technologies and other personal electronics like smartphones.


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