On August 4th 2011 Australian company Lynas Corporation officially opened its Mt Weld rare earth mine in Western Australia. Lynas wants to export 33,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrates through the port of Fremantle in Western Australia to the port of Kuantan in Malaysia to their polluting, energy intensive an highly controversial processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP). The LAMP is scheduled to start operations by the end of 2011 but it is being vehemently opposed by thousands of people in Malaysia.
In light of a New York Times article Kuantan residents were awakened to the fact that their government had given the green-light to a project against their consent. Kuantan residents and supporters – ordinary citizens from diverse professions, race and religious backgrounds – started a movement to protest both the Malaysian government and Lynas Corporation. In spite of the risks and massive opposition, the Malaysian government had agreed to host the plant offering Lynas a speedy process and a 12-year tax holiday.
The Save Malaysia! Stop Lynas! movement have taken this protest across Malaysia and to Australia. They have been outraged by the lack of information and the hasty and inadequate approval process by the Malaysian Government and the arrogance of Lynas to dump huge amounts of toxic and radioactive waste on their lives and livelihoods.
Touted as the largest rare earth refinery, the LAMP will use 720 tons of concentrated Hydrochloride Acid (sulphuric acid) per day and leave behind 28,000 tonnes of solid waste per year, enough to fill 126 olympic size swimming pools. A by-product of this waste is radioactive Thorium (Th) which is dangerous to human health.
There are approximately 700,000 people living within 30 km from the LAMP and it is located near coastal tourist resorts and an environmentally sensitive fishery area. Construction of the plant has begun in secrecy and ahead of proper environmental and waste management plan.
Community in Malaysia are calling for Australian citizens, environmentalists, unionists, health professionals, business people and politicians to get behind the Stop Lynas! Campaign and stop Lynas Corporation from proceeding with their rare earth plant (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant-LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan.