Lynas faces another hurdle

Kristie Batten
Friday, 9 March 2012

THE trouble continues for Lynas Corporation in Malaysia with an appeal being lodged against the approval of a temporary operating licence for its rare earths plant, while opposition is mounting closer to home over the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Lynas’ plant in Malaysia

Lynas said it understood the appeal to the minister of science, technology and innovation had been lodged under section 32 of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act.

Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Maximus Ongkili will hear the appeal by Tan Bun Teet and five others over the rare earth plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Tan is the chairman of a group called Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas, which has been a vocal opponent of the plant.

Earlier this month, the group appealed for a lawyer to help fight the approval of Lynas’ temporary operating licence full-time.

“We are preparing for the legal action,” Tan said earlier this month.

“We want it strong and tight to withstand the scrutiny of the court, the government and Lynas’ legal team.

“Lynas will probably pull its next publicity stunt by bringing in its rare earth concentrate to salvage its falling stock in the share market.

“SMSL, Kuantan residents and our fellow Malaysians are ready.

“We said we would block the ore getting to the plant and we will.”

Lynas said it expected the appeal to be heard next month.

SMSL is affiliated with an Australian group, Stop Lynas!, which has stepped up its opposition to the company, urging Australians to sign a petition in an attempt to stop exports of rare earths to Malaysia.

Lynas is also facing opposition over its WA mine.

On Tuesday, the Environmental Defenders Office lodged a referral on behalf of the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA to the Environmental Protection Authority regarding the Mt Weld mine on the basis that it operated under approvals issued 14 years ago.

“The EPA needs to take a serious look at the Lynas operations at Mt Weld along with the transportation of this radioactive material to the Fremantle Port for export,” ANAWA spokesman Marcus Atkinson said.

“There needs to be extremely stringent safeguards in place to protect the residents of Fremantle and other communities on the transport routes.

“The approvals given 14 years ago need to be re-examined by the EPA and stronger regulations need to be put in place to ease the fears of the community.

“We have made many mistakes in the past with the transport of lead and other materials. We need to ensure that the same mistakes are not made with rare earth products.”

Shares in Lynas gained A4c this morning to $1.12.

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