Australian news, and some related international items

Rare earths: what if Malaysia puts public health over Lynas’ profit?

Lynas languishes as Malaysian radiation protests grow, BY:BARRY FITZGERALD, The Australian, March 01, 2012 RARE-EARTHS stock Lynas cannot pull a trick at the moment. Uncertainty about its ability to win over the local community
at its soon-to-be completed finishing plant in Malaysia has driven the stock down 53 per cent from from its April 2011 peak of $2.60 a share to the $1.22 a share on offer at the close of trade yesterday.

Radiation fears surrounding the plant have become something of a cause celebre in Malaysia, prompting concerns that Lynas’s ability to make finished products from concentrates sent from its Mount Weld mining operation in Western Australia to fully maximise its returns is now under threat.

In the meantime, the West Australian government has amended the state’s Mining Act to impose a 2.5 per cent royalty on Mount Weld production. Rare earths is a new industry for the state and the 2.5 per cent rate has been part of the assumptions surrounding the Mount Weld project since Lynas got serious with feasibility studies into its integrated development, with the offshore finishing plant, in 2005…

.. Last weekend thousands of protesters rallied around the Malaysian plant, calling for its closure. Wong Tack, a key organiser of the event, said: “Malaysians have made our stand and we do not want this hazardous project.”

Protesters also attacked the Lynas website, which was still down yesterday.

March 2, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business

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