Lynas offers to dispose rare earths waste elsewhere

Posted on March 7, 2012. Filed under: Pollution |
Rare earths mining company Lynas faces ongoing protests over its Lynas Advanced Minerals Plant.

Highly controversial Australian rare earths mining corporation Lynas submitted a letter of undertaking Tuesday to send the rare earth processing residue elsewhere should there be no suitable site for its waste disposal operation.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed made a joint statement with Pahang Metri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob in Kuantan yesterday, saying, “Even though the Government is satisfied there will be no radioactive residue produced duing the plant’s operation, we have ordered Lynas to guarantee and plan the provision of a permanent waste disposal facility far from human population as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Failing that, Lynas has already expressed willingness to take the residue out of Malaysia.”

The opposed plant, Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, was granted a temporary licence in February.

This may mark a turning point for anti-Lynas groups, who have protested against the Australian company in multiple cities in Malaysia, particularly Kuantan, a half hour drive from Gebeng.

Although IAEA has gone on to say that rare earths plants can be safe, environmentally-aware Malaysians are concerned that the radioactive waste disposal of the plant could lead to environmental harm.

The Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally in Kuantan saw some 15,000 Malaysians turning up to protest Lynas’ presence in Malaysia. The rally was credited as the largest and most diverse environmental protest in Malaysian history.


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