Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Malaysian Insider - Lynas review ignores public health, says Fuziah

By Shannon Teoh

May 30, 2011
Fuziah asked Lynas to move its refinery back to Australia. — file pic
KUANTAN, May 30 — Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said today suggestions by the panel reviewing the controversial RM700 million rare earth plant here must be rejected as the team does not address the issue of public health.

“They admitted a gap in their scope as there is no public health expert on the panel. Their suggestions cannot be enforced. No matter how good, their scope is purely technical, not holistic,” said the PKR vice president, who has been leading protests against the refinery being built in the Gebeng industrial zone.

Fuziah told reporters this after her 30-minute meeting with the nine international experts in which she submitted a referendum on behalf of 51,000 signatories.

In the referendum, she said that “whatever technical solutions and recommendations being proposed to the government... will not function as a working model here in Malaysia.”

She told reporters later that the project by Australian miner Lynas Corp could not be judged purely on radioactive emissions and needed to include environmental factors as well.

“There is no population around Lynas’s Mount Weld mine for a 30km radius. But around Gebeng, there are 700,000 residents,” she said.

She added that Lynas should move their refinery back to the Australian desert as it was dry unlike Malaysia, where risks of seepage would be higher due to frequent rain.

The government had bowed to public pressure last month and put the project on ice pending the review by international experts.

Despite the government review, Lynas expects no delay to its plans to begin operations in September as it maintains the plant is safe.

It is anticipating a windfall of RM8 billion a year from 2013 onwards from the rare earth metals that are crucial to the manufacture of high-technology products such as smartphones, hybrid cars and bombs.

The Malaysian Insider - As panel meets, pro- and anti-Lynas groups face off

UPDATED @ 04:37:34 PM 30-05-2011

May 30, 2011
Fuziah was told not to bring signed petitions into the meetings. — file pic
KUANTAN, May 30 — The situation at the Hyatt Regency here threatened to turn ugly this afternoon as both pro and anti-Lynas Corp groups gathered while the review panel began meeting stakeholders this afternoon.

Several demonstrators, including three Umno assemblymen, rushed to confront Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh as she arrived to meet the International Atomic Energy Agency-led (IAEA) team at 3pm.

They demanded the PKR vice president, who has been leading protests against the controversial RM700 million rare earth plant, not be allowed to bring in signed petitions into her half-hour session and that those accompanying her remove their anti-Lynas T-shirts.

As police also pressed Fuziah to meet the demonstrators’ demands, her team complied before entering the building where the meetings are to take place.

The demonstrators were part of a group of about 100 who arrived at 2pm, holding up banners supporting the IAEA and also Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

About half as many wearing “Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas” T-shirts also made their stand here until police told both groups to leave the hotel.

However, both groups refused to leave outright and loitered outside the hotel premises until 4pm.

About ten light strike force officers were also deployed until the protestors left.

Earlier, pro-Lynas demonstrators had also confronted Indera Mahkota MCA Youth chief David Choi.

Choi, who has not been supportive of the project, told reporters later that he was kicked by some of the protestors.

The three assemblymen leading the pro-Lynas group included state executive councillor Datuk Mohamad Sahfri Ab Aziz as well as Norolazali Sulaiman and Mohd Zaili Besar, Guai and Panching representatives respectively.

The nine-man panel is here on a four-day visit to hear concerns from local residents and lobby groups before compiling a report by the end of June.

The government had bowed to public pressure last month and put the project by Australian miner Lynas Corp on ice pending the review by the team of international experts.

Despite the government review, Lynas expects no delay to its plans to begin operations in September as it maintains the plant is safe.

It is anticipating a windfall of RM8 billion a year from 2013 onwards from the rare earth metals that are crucial to the manufacture of high-technology products such as smartphones, hybrid cars and bombs.

Malaysiakini - Lynas opponents mount beachside protest

Lee Long Hui
May 30, 11

Nine UN atomic energy experts may have had their breakfast interrupted by a protest against the Lynas rare earth plant this morning, at an open-air café on Teluk Cempedak beach in Kuantan.

NONEHundreds of angry residents gathered to express their dissatisfaction in front of the café, located in a hotel where the experts - members of a review panel - are staying.

The crowd, mainly comprising retirees, mothers and children, were led by the 'Save Malaysia' group, gathered at the beach around 7.30am and marching towards the hotel at 8am.

Chanting “Stop Lynas” and “Lynas, go back Australia”, they also carried posters and banners with messages like 'Lynas get out', 'Australia exports dirty industries'. They also sang the national anthem.

NONEThe protest drew the attention of hotel guests. Curious foreigners took photos, while some local guests clapped their hands to show solidarity with the protestors.

It could not be immediately established if members of the panel were among the guests at the time.

A hotel worker drew the curtains to shut out the sight of the protestors, but they reacted quickly to move to a better spot where they could be seen clearly.

The hotel did not stop the protest, although it manages that part of the beach front. A security guard watched silently, and the police arrived only after the crowd dispersed peacefully about 8.40am.

Protests against the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, near Kuantan, have continued despite the government's assurance that its operations will be safe - a claim that the expert panel will consider in carrying out its work.Level of independence 'doubtful'

'Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas' chairperson Tan Boon Teet said he was not happy with the members of the panel, claiming that they were selling and promoting nuclear technology and had previously been backed by certain interest groups.

NONETan (right), who replaced Vincent Jiam who resigned as the chairperson three days ago, added that their level of independence is doubtful.

Tan also explained that the group chose to hold its protest this way to let the panel understand the stand of Kuantan people against Lamp, and “we also want foreigners to know that a poisonous factory from Australia is coming to Malaysia”.

The expert team selected by the IAEA to undertake the review consists of nine persons and will be led by Dr Tero Varjoranta of Finland.

Varjoranta is the director of the nuclear fuel cycle and waste technology division at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.

The external experts are Jan van der Steen (Netherlands), Dr Leo M Lowe (Canada), Dr PM Balagopala Pillai (India), Dr Dennis Wymer (UK), and Ulric Schwela (Finland).

The internal (IAEA) experts comprise of Dr Magnus Vesterlind (Sweden), Dr Horst Monken Fernandes (Brazil) and Hanna Kajander (Finland), while Hiroko Raticliffe will be the administrative assistant.

All the members of the panel are recognised experts in their respective disciplines and have specialised knowledge on issues relating to radiation protection, safety assessment, waste management, transportation, and decommissioning and remedial actions.

The team will complete its work in Malaysia on June 3, and is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the government by the end of June 2011.

They will be having two closed-door hearings at the hotel and will conduct a site visit during their stay in Kuantan starting from today until Wednesday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

照会 - 莱纳斯稀土厂在格宾、关丹的设立和运营 The REFERENDUM On The Setting Up And Operation Of Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) In Gebeng Kuantan

照会 - 莱纳斯稀土厂在格宾、关丹的设立和运营



首先让我们引述以下杰克利夫顿(Jack Lifton) 发布于2011311, 1225分在《新闻分析,稀土》(News Analysis, Rare Earths) 标题为稀土矿提炼导致含钍和铀残留物的问题的一篇具有制影响力的文章。

“一个非常重要但缺乏报道的稀土界故事将浮上台面。一位初级稀土界的高级行政人员向我透露,本周前在多伦多的PDAC,每间稀土探险室内 800磅重的大猩猩,显示含放射性的钍和/或铀废料将来自提取、分离和炼制的过程 - 一个紧随采矿和机械浓缩的操作步骤。

据我所了解,莱纳斯在2005年的第一个为威尔德山(Mount Weld)运营的商务计划仅是在澳洲进行稀土矿的生产。在该计划中,供应链中的其他步骤将在中国完成,而中国将给莱纳斯的客户递送稀土金属成品、或在供应链初期向莱纳斯购买稀土金属成品。这原先的莱纳斯计划变卦是因为在中国加工后的稀土,中国无法给予保证稀土仍将归莱纳斯所有。中国国家自然资源归属权没有具体的法律 - 没有说明此类进口物品的归属权,这使投资者退避。





然而,我们今天的代表为我们所提出的论点,将会向国际专家小组转达一个强烈的信息 即在这个实情调查任务的最终,国际专家小组无论向马来西亚政府



上述文​​章所包含的信息已不是一个新发现。我们“关丹关怀居民非常明白稀土加工业的危险性,因为它已是马来西亚历史上的一个污点。在1980年,一个类似的工业,由一家日本公司(Mitsubitshi Coporation)所拥有的公司,名为亚洲稀土厂,已对人类和周围的生态环境造成了灾难性破坏、和不可逆转的影响。许多儿童和成年人患上癌症,包括白血病之类的疾病。也有出生畸形或弱智儿童的活生生证明。记录同时显示胎儿在​​怀孕期间死亡的案件。该村庄被遗弃,而不适宜居住。亚洲稀土厂关闭的二十年后,清理辐射性废物才刚刚由政府和该厂商联手承接,而该厂商得承担超过马币三亿万的花费。



顾虑到钍废料和其他元素、如铀废料,氡和钍射气,和其他许多使用在生产过程中有害化学品对整体的伤害,我们坚信,莱纳斯稀土提炼设施是不安全的 此设施对人类和环境损害的幅度将是巨大的。这将对社会造成不可逆转的负面影响。我们绝对不允许自己和下一代成为莱纳斯计划把人类当成大量豚鼠或实验室老鼠来进行实验。它在道义上是错误的,侵犯人民享有健康生活的基本的权利。尤其是莱纳斯即将在一个不被证明是安全 - 靠近人口稠密住宅区的30公里半径范围内开始操作。

历史已经证明,此工业的业主很容易摆脱他们所应承担的责任。因为关于我国执行力松散, 废物产生而影响人民未来健康是不容易被证明的。我们拒绝承担稀土厂对我们健康危害的风险、和对我们未来一代的环境破坏。我们不希望我们的祖国成为一个不负责任个体工商户的倾卸场。经济利益始终不应该排在人类安全和健康之上。

关丹是一个拥有美丽海滩和风景的旅游胜地。莱纳斯稀土厂紧靠着许多当地居民以蓬勃旅游业为生的经济型酒店、家庭寄宿和以配合当地居民和游客需要的海产行业。同时,关丹是马来西亚其中最大的渔港,当地码头拥有390多艘注册深海拖网渔船。稀土厂工业将会是关丹耻辱的标记 它将为当地居民带来沉重的打击,关丹将不再会是一个具有吸引力的旅游目的地。即使现在,我们身处的这个会议厅,其价格已因稀土厂和其他关丹物业一起狂飙下来。医疗保险成本也将成为关丹纳税人的繁重负担。关丹地方议会早在2001年签署了一项承诺,实施21地方议程以广大对可持续发展的支持。因此,在未与公众和利益相关者协商前,批准莱纳斯稀土厂,是完全不可接受的行为、和违反可持续发展的21地方议程的原则。




(一)即使在澳洲,莱纳斯拥有违反原有工程安全条规的记录(环境评估报告 - 修订工程批准W4440/2008/1有关莱纳斯在威尔德山浓缩厂的尾矿贮存设施)
(三)莱纳斯在马来西亚使用中国的标准,而不是他们所声称的严格原子能机构标准。通过使用中国的(GB9133 – 88)标准,他们不会因放射性的废物而受惩罚 - 莱纳斯放射性废物的具体水平达到61贝可/克(中国的标准上限为74贝可/克,而澳洲和国际原子能机构的标准是1贝可/克)日期为20106月的RIA报告证实了放射性废物的具体水平。





我们期待小组来马来西亚任务的结果,将是告知马来西亚政府及彭亨州政府,他们批准莱纳斯在格宾兴建稀土提炼厂是错误的。但马来西亚当局现在亡羊補牢以作出对有关居民正确和有道德的决定还不是太晚 请为了所有在30公里半径范围内的70万居民不签发九月到期的经营许可证。

我也相信,该小组将把良心、生命和环保作为决定的前提和基础,而不是利润 - 公民的生命是最重要的,无价的,也是完全没有协商的余地的。



傅芝雅(Fuziah Salleh)


The REFERENDUM On The Setting Up And Operation Of

Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) In Gebeng Kuantan

By The Concern Citizens of Kuantan.

30th May 2011

On behalf of approximately 700,000 citizens that reside within the 30 km radius of Gebeng;

We begin by quoting the following exert from an article titled The Issue of Residual Thorium & Uranium from Rare-Earth Ore Processing Posted By Jack Lifton on March 11, 2011 @ 12:25 pm in News Analysis, Rare Earths

“In the rare-earths sector a very important and under-reported story is coming to the surface. A senior executive at a rare-earth junior said to me at PDAC in Toronto earlier this week that the 800-pound gorilla in every rare-earth venture’s room, was the radioactive thorium and/ or uranium-bearing waste that will be generated by the extraction, separation, and refining operations that are the supply chain steps immediately following mining and mechanical concentration.

It is my understanding that Lynas’ first business plan for the Mt Weld operation put out in 2005 called for only raw ore to be produced in Australia. Every further step in the supply chain was, in that plan, to be done in China, and, at the conclusion the idea was that China would either ship finished rare-earth metals to Lynas’ customers or buy the rare-earth metals at that point or earlier in the supply chain from Lynas. This original Lynas plan faltered on the failure of the Chinese to give guarantees that the ore would remain the property of Lynas, after Chinese work product was added to it. Chinese law on the ownership of natural resources by the State was not specific on when such ownership vested if the goods were imported, and this made institutional investors gun-shy of the project.

One of the major advantages of Lynas’ original plan was that any radioactive residue would have been a Chinese disposal problem, and in those days the Chinese were more flexible about that than they have now become.”


We are aware that the IAEA expert panel is here in Malaysia to investigate the health and safety aspects of LAMP, specifically to review the radiation safety aspects of the facility in relation to relevant international radiation safety standards and good practice.

We are also very aware of the fact that the panel will not engage in policy type of discussions.

However the arguments that we are putting forth in our representation today, will be to put across a strong message to the panel that whatever technical solutions and recommendations being proposed to the government of Malaysia by the panel of international experts at the end of this fact finding mission with not function as a working model here in Malaysia.

Recommendations on LAMP’s safety does not rest on technical recommendations and inputs but rather must be made on a holistic approach on the moral ground by putting people’s safety, health and lives above others.


The information contained in the above article is not of a new discovery. We, the Kuantan Concern Citizens are very much aware of the hazard that lies in the rare earth processing industry which has cause a bad mark in the history of Malaysia. During the 1980’s a similar industry, where a company by the name of Asian Rare Earth (owned by a Japanese company, Mitsubitshi Corporation) had cause a disastrous and irreversible impact to humanity and surrounding ecology. Many children and adults succumbed to illness caused by cancer which includes leukemia and the like. There is also living proof of children who were born deformed or mentally handicap. Cases of fetus which died during pregnancy were also recorded. The village was somehow deserted and not livable. The clean up of the radioactive waste had just been taken recently by the government and the owner of the company and cost the owner over RM 300 million.

Lynas, which do not have any track record in processing rare earth prior to this, to this date had not been able to show any concrete measure in the handling of the radioactive waste generated from the separation process in Gebeng, Kuantan. Although Lynas and the Malaysian government tried to downplay the amount of thorium generated by claiming that the ore from Mount Weld contains less thorium in comparison with the ore used by Asian Rare Earth, the volume that LAMP proposed to process here in Gebeng are many times more than of Asian Rare Earth.

We have no doubt whatsoever that the total accumulated thorium will be very much higher than what was produced in Bukit Merah. Lynas’s claims on having the best engineering practice and safer processing technology were never proven as there is no existing LAMP anywhere prior to this nor is there any existing refinery facility outside China which can be benchmarked to. Until today, Lynas has failed to produce a concrete long term radioactive waste management plan

Considering the overall harm and damages that can be caused by thorium and many other element produced such as uranium waste, radon & thoron gas, and many other hazardous chemicals used in the process, we strongly believe that this facility is not safe. The magnitude of damage to mankind and the environment will be enormous. It will cause an irreversible impact to the community. We definitely will not allow ourselves and our future generation to be the GUINEA PIGS or LAB RATS to the massive experiment which Lynas plan to conduct on humanity. It is morally wrong and a violation of human rights to living a healthy live, to begin an operation on a process which is not proven to be safe especially so when it is near to residential areas in a densely populated area within it’s 30 km radius.

History has shown that industry owner will easily get away from their liability and responsibility because it is not easy to prove that any health impact in future is directly link to their waste generation due to the lack of enforcement in our country. We certainly refuse to shoulder the risk of the harm that this plant poses to our health and the environmental threats to our future generation. We do not want our homeland to be the dumping ground of an irresponsible business entity. Economic gain shall NOT and NEVER take priority over safety and health of human being.


Kuantan is a tourist destination with beautiful beaches and scenic sights. Many of the local residents immediately next to the LAMP site thrives on the tourism industry by being proprieters of budget hotels and homestays as well as managing the seafood industry to cater for the needs of locals and tourists alike. At the same time Kuantan also harbours one of the largest fishing port in Malaysia which registers more than 390 deep sea trawlers at it’s docks. The stigma that this industry brings will certainly bring a heavy blow to the local residents and Kuantan will not be an attractive destination for tourist anymore. Even right now as we sit here in this meeting, the prices of property in Kuantan have spiraled down. Not to mention the cost of health insurance that will be burdensome to the Kuantan tax payers. The Kuantan Local Council has signed an undertaking to adopt the Local Agenda 21 in support of sustainable development way back in the year 2001. Thus, approving LAMP without prior consultation with the public and the stakeholders in Kuantan is a totally unacceptable act and contravenes the principles of sustainable development adopted in Local Agenda 21.


Specifically with regards to this industry, Malaysia does not have stringent environmental laws to protect our Environment. Even the regulator for LAMP project will be the AELB (Atomic Energy Licensing Board) as compared to the EPA in Australia or the US.


There are always issues regarding slack enforcement as well as corruption in this country (the Corruption Perception Index for Malaysia being at 56 out of 178 countries is testimony to this fact). Even if Malaysia imposes fines on Lynas (a 100% Australian owned company) for non compliance, whatever the amount will be peanuts compared to the total export value of RM8 billion a year that Lynas will be enjoying.


Lynas’s credibility is greatly questionable

(i) Even in Australia, Lynas has a record of non compliance to the Safety Standards set in the original works approval for (Environmental Assessment Report – Amendments to works approval W4440/2008/1 regards tailings storage facility of their Concentration Plant in Mt Weld)

(ii) Lynas has been misleading the public by providing the Malaysian public as well as the Malaysian authorities with incomplete or skewed information.

(iii) Lynas is using Chinese standards in Malaysia as opposed to what they claim that they adhere to strict IAEA standards. By using Chinese standards (GB9133-88), they get away with their claim that the waste is NON RADIOACTIVE since the specific radioactivity level of their waste is at 61 Bq/g ( the limit in Chinese Standards is 74Bq/g while the limit in Australia and by IAEA standards is 1 Bq/g) The RIA report dated June 2010 confirms the specific radioactivity level of the waste.

6) SIGNED PETITION From the Kuantan Folks

Copies of 51,000 plus petition collected from Kuantan alone (from 15th March – 30th May 2011) suffice to impress upon the panel the grievance of the Kuantan public. This forms an integral part of the referendum.


The Citizens of Kuantan are not opposed to development. However, we would like to assert strongly that the development we desire is in the form of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

Therefore, we demand the government of Malaysia to stop Lynas from operating its rare earth processing plant in Kuantan or anywhere in Malaysia. We do not have faith that whatever recommendations given by the panel can be and will be complied to. We do not want to face a radioactive problem in our backyard when Gebeng is turned into an onsite radioactive waste dumping ground for LAMP forever. We certainly do not want to subject ourselves or our family members to severe health threats while Lynas make their way to the bank, laughing.

Our expected outcome from your mission here in Malaysia will be that we expect you to advise the government of Malaysia as well as the state government of Pahang that they have made a mistake in giving approval for LAMP to be constructed in Gebeng. Never the less it is not too late for the Malaysian authorities to make the right moral decision for the Concerned Citizens, all 700,000 living within 30 km radius of LAMP which is NOT to ISSUE an Operating License due in September.

I also trust that the panel will make it’s decision based on conscience, putting lives and environment first before profits, as the lives of the citizens are of paramount importance, priceless and totally not negotiable.

Representation From the Kuantan Concern Citizens

Represented by:

Fuziah Salleh

Member of Parliament,


30th May 2011

Malaysiakini - IAEA panel on Lynas plant gets to work

May 29, 11 11:14pm

The IAEA expert panel investigating the health and safety aspects of the Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang has begun its work from today with a briefing on the project by Malaysian technical officials, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement today.

Panel leader Dr Tero Varjoranta said the panel would "review the radiation safety aspects of the facility in relation to relevant international radiation safety standards and good practices."

He said the team would provide an independent expert opinion to the Malaysian government.

"The mission is technical in nature and has no mandate, and therefore will not engage in policy type of discussions," Dr Varjoranta stressed.

He explained that the work of the panel would be focused on gathering information and receiving submissions from interested parties and members of the public. -

He said that it was the standard practice of IAEA missions such as this to obtain its information in closed door sessions, and not in town hall-type of meetings.

The team is in Malaysia at the invitation of the Malaysian government.

Besides Dr Varjoranta, the panel consists of nine professionals of various disciplines from Canada, Finland, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the Vienna-based IAEA.
Four of them are from the IAEA, and the other 5 are consultants from member countries.

While here, the panel will meet government officials, Lynas employees, residents and other members of the public. They will also visit the project site.

The team will complete its work in Malaysia on June 3, and is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the government, by the end of June 2011.

- Bernama

Malaysiakini - IAEA team arrives, to visit Kuantan tomorrow

May 29, 11 4:50pm

A team of UN atomic energy experts began a week-long visit to Malaysia on Sunday to review the safety of a proposed Australian rare earths refinery that has drawn protests.

Following public concerns that radioactive waste from the plant could leak out and harm the environment, Malaysia has put the project by Australian miner Lynas on hold, pending the independent panel's review.

A nine-member team led by a senior official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived this weekend to review the plant, which is under construction near the town of Kuantan in eastern Pahang state, said an official from the International Trade Ministry.

The team is meeting Malaysian government officials on Sunday before traveling to eastern Malaysia on Monday to meet residents and inspect the construction site for three days, he said.

They are expected to present their final findings by end of June, the official said.

The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) was scheduled to begin processing rare earths -- used in high-tech products from iPods to missiles -- in the third quarter of 2011.

But activists and residents say they fear radioactive waste produced by the plant would not be disposed of properly and could endanger them and the environment.

Pending the panel's review, the government has said it will not issue a pre-operating licence to Lynas and has barred imports of raw materials from Australia to be processed at the facility.

A similar facility built by a Japanese firm in another part of Malaysia was forced to shut down in 1992 due to protests.


Malaysiakini - Lynas opponents gears up for IAEA meet

S Pathmawathy
May 29, 11

Opponents to the rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang will be raising five main issues during a public hearing by the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Kuantan tomorrow.

During a meeting of about 200 stakeholders in Kuantan today, it was decided that five groups will be speaking to the IAEA on issues involving: Law, health, environment, local issues and politics.

According to Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, each group would be given just 30 minutes to state their case during the hearing, which is part of a review on the safety of the plant, officially called the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp).

The Pahang Bar Council will be heading the legal team which would argue about the lack of public consultation and request for a detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) to be performed by an independent body.

“They will highlight the lack of transparency in the details of the project as the people in the constituency and other affected areas were left out of the loop,” said Fuziah.

Petition to submitted

On the topic of health, the Pahang chapter of the Malaysian Medical Association would be presenting its case on potential exposure to radiation and how this has yet to be addressed by the government.

On the environment, Sahabat Alam Malaysia and the Malaysian Nature Society would be speaking on the dangers of the plant on the surrounding flora and fauna.

Local resident group Badan Bertindak Anti-Lynas Rare Earth (BBAR) will be speaking about how the plant would be cause problems for the livelihood of about 10,000 residents who live within a 2km radius of the plant.

Meanwhile, Fuziah will be submitting a petition with 50,000 signatures collected since the project was unveiled last year.

Lamp was scheduled to begin producing rare earth, which are crucial in the production of high-tech goods from fibre-optic cables to smartphones and electric cars, beginning September.

But critics are concerned over exposure to radioactive material present in the ore containing rare earth and are questioning why the ore is processed in Malaysia instead of its source Australia.

Closed door hearing

Opponents are also worried that the plant would cause harm associated with the now defunct Bukit Merah rare earth refinery in Perak which was decommissioned in the 1990s after locals within the vicinity reported birth defects and suffered radiation related illnesses.

In a bid to quell growing public discontent, the government announced that it will not issue a pre-operating licence to Lynas and has barred imports of the ore until the panel completes its review.

In all, the IAEA panel will be hearing two closed-door hearings and might conduct a site visit during their stay in Kuantan from Monday to Wednesday.

The panel will be holding separate hearings in Putrajaya on Thursday and Friday, where their visit would come to an end. They are expected to submit their report to the government by late June.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Malaysian Insider - Kuantan MP: Putrajaya selling out people for Lynas funds

Kuantan MP: Putrajaya selling out people for Lynas funds

May 28, 2011
Fuziah said the waste disposal research was putting the cart before the horse. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Putrajaya has committed “an act of treason on the rakyat” by asking Lynas Corp to set aside earnings from its Gebeng rare earth plant to fund research into waste disposal, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said today.

She claimed the existence of the condition, imposed on the Australian mining giant by the Najib administration in exchange for a manufacturing licence, showed that the government had doubts about the controversial plant’s safety.

“Why should we be doing research on waste management now? Should not Miti (Ministry of International Trade) have gathered all the facts prior to awarding them the strategic pioneer status?” Fuziah said in a statement.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that Lynas was asked to pay the government a “certain percentage” from its annual gross profit to undertake research and development on the management and disposal of radioactive waste or pay financial security.

Currently, rare earth waste products can only be buried, recycled or transmuted into non-radioactive material, although many small operations in China release toxic waste into the general water supply.

A government source said the requirement was mooted as a condition of Lynas’s manufacturing licence by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) during a meeting that also included representatives from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and Miti.

While the source stressed that AELB — and not Mida or Miti — had asked for the security, he insisted that the payments should not construed as indemnity against potentially hazardous waste that may result from processing rare earths at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang.

Fuziah said today it was “immoral” for Lynas to pay what she described as a surety fund given its assurance that the plant will be safe, and claimed this was proof the company was ready to sacrifice fundamental principles just to obtain a local manufacturing licence.

She added that the government should make every doubt about LAMP a reason to nix the project as people’s lives and safety was non-negotiable and too priceless to trade.

Mida and Miti successfully pulled Lynas to set up shop here after China — the world’s biggest rare earths producer — closed its doors to foreign firms to maintain its 97 per cent chokehold on the global rare earths market.

Green groups here and in Australia have lobbied their respective governments to scupper the project ahead of LAMP’s September start date, citing the company’s opaque plans on waste storage and transport management between the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia and the Gebeng refinery.

Lynas is among the world’s biggest suppliers of rare earths, a group of minerals vital in the manufacture of high technology goods that are ecologically friendly but create toxic by-products in the process.

The RM700 million LAMP is expected to be the world’s largest and most sophisticated upon completion.