Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Malaysian Insider - Lynas plans next phase of Gebeng plant

Something very fishy is going on....

By Shannon Teoh

July 13, 2011
Construction work is performed at the Lynas Corp refinery in Gebeng. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Australian miner Lynas Corp has appointed Thai engineering firm Toyo-Thai Corporation in a deal worth up to RM630 million to complete phase two of its rare earth plant in Kuantan, the Australian Associated Press reported today.

The first phase of the refinery being built in the Gebeng industrial zone, which still needs to meet several safety conditions, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Subject to the receipt of approvals, the second phase — worth a lump sum payment of between US$180 and US$210 million (RM540 – RM630 million) — is scheduled to be completed in the last three months of 2012, according to Lynas.

Lynas previously denied media reports that the new conditions set by the government after an International Atomic Energy Agency review will delay the plant by up to two years, insisting that it remains on track to begin operations by the end of 2011.

The Australian miner said its plant — which will extract rare earth metals crucial for high-technology products such as smartphones, hybrid cars and wind turbines — will create a RM4 billion multiplier effect annually and will hire 350 skilled workers, 99 per cent of whom will be Malaysians.

Although reports say the plant may earn RM8 billion for Lynas, more than one per cent of the Malaysian GDP, critics have questioned the real economic benefit of the project by pointing to the 12-year tax break the Australian company will enjoy due to its pioneer status.

The federal government defended the Lynas project as a “strategic industry” for Malaysia in spite of fears of radiation pollution that it has raised among local residents and environmentalists.

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