Australian news, and some related international items

Radioactive pollution problems: Australia’s rare earths mine in Malaysia

Australian mining plant in Malaysia faces radioactive waste inquiry, As China, the world’s largest producer of rare earth metals, scales back its export operations, the future of Australia’s industry is under a cloud.  By Jarni Blakkarly  30 Oct 18, The Chinese government has announced a slashing in the production of rare earth metals, a type of metal used in a range of high-tech products from mobile phones to wind turbines and electric cars.


October 29, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths


  1. While China has reduced H2 2018 rare earth separation quotas when compared to past quotas, the overall quota for 2018 is actually 15% higher when compared to 2017 quotas. Also, judging by Mr Mudd’s comments seriously doubt his knowledge about Lynas operations in Malaysia would qualify him as a competent person on the matter. Lynas has conducted 6 years of R&D and numerous field trials both in Western Australia and Malaysia to prove residues generated by its operations in Malaysia can be safely recycled into fertiliser. The company continuously engages with the public regarding its operations in Malaysia but unfortunately due to the political landscape there are a number of politicians who have purposely mislead the Malaysian public about Lynas operations. The science and facts prove Lynas operations are safe and the residues can be recycled. Only the ignorant and misinformed would suggest or claim otherwise.

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2018 | Reply

    • Malaysia has a horrible history of pollution due to rare earths processing.
      So it is understandable that Malaysians are apprehensive about the Lynas project. One might well ask -if the Lynas operation is so sweet and safe, why didn’t they do it in Australia?

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | October 30, 2018 | Reply

      • Anyone aware of the facts would understand the only similarity between Lynas and ARE is the word rare earth. Unfortunately there are a number of NGO’s and politicians who have attempted to distort the facts and spread disinformation about Lynas operations in Malaysia. To answer your question “why didn’t Lynas do it in Australia?”, because they were lured to Malaysia by the government at the time with tax incentives, cheap labour, cheap water, cheap gas, cheap chemicals, cheap land with easy access to deep water ports and Malaysia is strategically positioned near Lynas two main customers, China and Japan. Its called basic economics. Lynas operations have been heavily scrutinised by local and international relevant experts and all aspects of their operations were confirmed to be compliant with international standards. In fact they have stricter standards in Malaysia. Its a shame the Malaysian government does not scrutinise all industries in Malaysia the same way they have Lynas.

        Comment by Chris | October 30, 2018

      • Well, I hope that it didn’t start with a factor that Australian safety standards might be harder and more expensive for Lynas. I still suspect that they were dragged, kicking and screaming to do something about the toxic wastes. I’m pretty sure that Lynas did not have much of a plan for that , at the start, and for quite a while afterwards. “IAEA finds Lynas rare earths plan unsatisfactory – no proper radioactive waste plan” –

        Comment by Christina MacPherson | October 30, 2018

  2. No point in hope, just look at the facts. If you really were concerned and knowledgeable on the matter you would at least be able to provide fact based evidence to prove Lynas is not complying with international standards instead of relying on snippets from media articles to form an opinion. Have you actually read the IAEA report? Lynas always intended to recycle any residues produced by its processing plant in Malaysia, even before they commenced building the LAMP in 2008. The company spent millions of dollars over a 6-8 year period on R&D and have successfully proven all residues can be recycled into fertiliser. There is no toxic or radioactive waste. Two residues are produced at the LAMP, NUF and WLP. Both have been extensively and besides the WLP being classified as very low level radioactive material both are not explosive, corrosive, a health hazard, irritant, carcinogenic, eco-toxic or infectious and do not exhibit characteristics of ignitability, reactivity or toxicity. This has been the issue all along, the arguments against Lynas are not based on facts, they are based on emotions and disinformation.

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2018 | Reply

    • Oh keep your hair on, Chris. I do not claim to be expert or even “knowledgeable”. Furthermore, as a supporter of renewable energy and modern technology, I would need to be a supporter of rare earths processing, wouldn’t I?

      My concern is, I believe, a valid one. People in the environmental and nuclear-free movement are all out for renewable energy, and with apparently little awareness that developing the technologies for renewable energy also involves some toxic wastes. Also, a neglected fact is that energy efficiency measures would be the most effective means of cutting greenhouse gases. That’s ignored, too.

      I get what I can from the media. And of course, I admit to bias. We un-funded environmental activists have to compete in the noisy world of industry handouts for polluting industries. Our job is to prod them towards clean processes. Too bad if my posts err on the anti-industry side. I’m not interested in advocating for Lynas – let them, (and you) do that for themselves.

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | October 30, 2018 | Reply

  3. Not interested in excuses, only the facts. Unfortunate facts don’t seem to be a necessity when dealing with some environmental activists.

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2018 | Reply

    • I’m not making excuses. I am just posting articles of interest. And comments./

      Your earlier comments were interesting, and, I thought, factual, and a fair reply to the article. I don’t usually bother to post comments that come from industry shills. I thought yours was a bit better. But I don’t appreciate personal goes at me.

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | October 30, 2018 | Reply

  4. Not having a go at you, just a generalisation really. No doubt the device youre using to post comments here contains components that are made with rare earths sourced from unethical, environmentally damaging mines and processing plants in China. In a way youre advocating polluting industries just by using every day devices like a tablet, PC or laptop. At least Lynas can claim to be the only ethical environmentally conscious producer of rare earths in the world.

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2018 | Reply

    • Well, Chris, I am happy to agree with you here. Of course I am using all sorts of things that most probably do contain minerals from dodgy sources. And I keep on advocating for wind turbines etc.

      Good if Lynas is ethical and environmentally conscious. The Chinese claim to be that, nowadays, but they haven’t convinced me – have they really cleaned up all those foul little businesses?.

      Of course I am not against rare earths mining and processing. But it is time that the world started designing devices with a view to retrieving and recycling rare earths.

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | October 30, 2018 | Reply

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