If Australian company Lynas thinks its Malaysian rare earths project is fine, it’s got another think coming
Protests Promised Over License for Malaysia Rare Earth Plant NYT, By LIZ GOOCH KUALA , 6 Sept, LUMPUR — Activists who have waged a lengthy campaign against a rare earth refinery in Malaysia refused to back down Thursday after the authorities gave the Australian company behind the project the green light to proceed.
One group has vowed to blockade the port in the Malaysian town of Kuantan, near the plant, if the company, Lynas, tries to import raw earth materials from Australia.
“We are prepared to paralyze the whole port until the raw materials leave our port,” said Wong Tack, chairman of the group, Himpunan Hijau. “The world will witness one of the biggest civil disobedience events in this nation.”…. Lynas said that it would address the “principal cause of the community anxiety” — what to do with the radioactive byproducts from the plant — by turning the material into “processed co-products” for use mainly in manufacturing, like materials for roads and buildings. The materials would be exported, the company said. The company’s statement did not say to which countries it might export the products……
activists are not satisfied that the plant, estimated to cost 2.5 billion ringgit, or $802 million, will be safe.
“We will not allow an ounce of raw material to reach our shores,” said Mr. Wong, adding that Himpunan Hijau would recruit “thousands of people” to block the port 24 hours a day when the raw earth material arrived.
“We need to send the strongest warning to Lynas — don’t even dream about operation. This is an all-out war,” he said.
Another group, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, said it was considering filing for a court injunction to try to stop the plant from operating.
Tan Bun Teet, the group’s chairman, said Save Malaysia Stop Lynas had already obtained leave from the courts for a judicial review of both the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s approval of the temporary operating license and of the decision by the minister of science, technology and innovation not to revoke the license.
He insisted that the board should have waited for the outcome of those judicial reviews before issuing the license…… The committee’s findings — that Lynas should receive the license because it had fulfilled legal provisions and standards more stringent than international standards — were dismissed by activists who claimed the committee was an attempt to “whitewash” the issue. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/business/global/protests-promised-over-license-for-malaysia-rare-earth-plant.html?_r=1
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