The REFERENDUM On The Setting Up And Operation Of?Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) In Gebeng Kuantan

For Submission to the International IAEA Panel.

The REFERENDUM On The Setting Up And Operation Of Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) In Gebeng Kuantan

By The Concern Citizens of Kuantan.30th May 2011

On behalf of approximately 700,000 citizens that reside within the 30 km radius of Gebeng;

We begin by quoting the following exert from an article titled The Issue of Residual Thorium & Uranium from Rare-Earth Ore Processing Posted By Jack Lifton on March 11, 2011 @ 12:25 pm in News Analysis, Rare Earths

In the rare-earths sector a very important and under-reported story is coming to the surface. A senior executive at a rare-earth junior said to me at PDAC in Toronto earlier this week that the 800-pound gorilla in every rare-earth venture’s room, was the radioactive thorium and/ or uranium-bearing waste that will be generated by the extraction, separation, and refining operations that are the supply chain steps immediately following mining and mechanical concentration.

It is my understanding that Lynas’ first business plan for the Mt Weld operation put out in 2005 called for only raw ore to be produced in Australia. Every further step in the supply chain was, in that plan, to be done in China, and, at the conclusion the idea was that China would either ship finished rare-earth metals to Lynas’ customers or buy the rare-earth metals at that point or earlier in the supply chain from Lynas. This original Lynas plan faltered on the failure of the Chinese to give guarantees that the ore would remain the property of Lynas, after Chinese work product was added to it. Chinese law on the ownership of natural resources by the State was not specific on when such ownership vested if the goods were imported, and this made institutional investors gun-shy of the project.

One of the major advantages of Lynas’ original plan was that any radioactive residue would have been a Chinese disposal problem, and in those days the Chinese were more flexible about that than they have now become.?


We are aware that the IAEA expert panel is here in Malaysia to investigate the health and safety aspects of LAMP, specifically to review the radiation safety aspects of the facility in relation to relevant international radiation safety standards and good practice.

We are also very aware of the fact that the panel will not engage in policy type of discussions.

However the arguments that we are putting forth in our representation today, will be to put across a strong message to the panel that whatever technical solutions and recommendations being proposed to the government of Malaysia by the panel of international experts at the end of this fact finding mission with not function as a working model here in Malaysia.

Recommendations on LAMP’s safety does not rest on technical recommendations and inputs but rather must be made on a holistic approach on the moral ground by putting people’s safety, health and lives above others.

1) HEALTH CONCERNS.The information contained in the above article is not of a new discovery. We, the Kuantan Concern Citizens are very much aware of the hazard that lies in the rare earth processing industry which has cause a bad mark in the history of Malaysia. During the 1980’s a similar industry, where a company by the name of Asian Rare Earth (owned by a Japanese company, Mitsubitshi Corporation) had cause a disastrous and irreversible impact to humanity and surrounding ecology. Many children and adults succumbed to illness caused by cancer which includes leukemia and the like. There is also living proof of children who were born deformed or mentally handicap. Cases of fetus which died during pregnancy were also recorded. The village was somehow deserted and not livable. The clean up of the radioactive waste had just been taken recently by the government and the owner of the company and cost the owner over RM 300 million.

Lynas, which do not have any track record in processing rare earth prior to this, to this date had not been able to show any concrete measure in the handling of the radioactive waste generated from the separation process in Gebeng, Kuantan. Although Lynas and the Malaysian government tried to downplay the amount of thorium generated by claiming that the ore from Mount Weld contains less thorium in comparison with the ore used by Asian Rare Earth, the volume that LAMP proposed to process here in Gebeng are many times more than of Asian Rare Earth.

We have no doubt whatsoever that the total accumulated thorium will be very much higher than what was produced in Bukit Merah. Lynas’ claims on having the best engineering practice and safer processing technology were never proven as there is no existing LAMP anywhere prior to this nor is there any existing refinery facility outside China which can be benchmarked to. Until today, Lynas has failed to produce a concrete long term radioactive waste management plan.

Considering the overall harm and damages that can be caused by thorium and many other element produced such as uranium waste, radon & thoron gas, and many other hazardous chemicals used in the process, we strongly believe that this facility is not safe. The magnitude of damage to mankind and the environment will be enormous. It will cause an irreversible impact to the community. We definitely will not allow ourselves and our future generation to be the GUINEA PIGS or LAB RATS to the massive experiment which Lynas plan to conduct on humanity. It is morally wrong and a violation of human rights to living a healthy live, to begin an operation on a process which is not proven to be safe especially so when it is near to residential areas in a densely populated area within its 30 km radius.

History has shown that industry owner will easily get away from their liability and responsibility because it is not easy to prove that any health impact in future is directly link to their waste generation due to the lack of enforcement in our country. We certainly refuse to shoulder the risk of the harm that this plant poses to our health and the environmental threats to our future generation. We do not want our homeland to be the dumping ground of an irresponsible business entity. Economic gain shall NOT and NEVER take priority over safety and health of human being.

3) LAX ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSSpecifically with regards to this industry, Malaysia does not have stringent environmental laws to protect our Environment. Even the regulator for LAMP project will be the AELB (Atomic Energy Licensing Board) as compared to the EPA in Australia or the US.

4) ENFORCEMENT ISSUESThere are always issues regarding slack enforcement as well as corruption in this country (the Corruption Perception Index for Malaysia being at 56 out of 178 countries is testimony to this fact). Even if Malaysia imposes fines on Lynas (a 100% Australian owned company) for non compliance, whatever the amount will be peanuts compared to the total export value of RM8 billion a year that Lynas will be enjoying.

Kuantan is a tourist destination with beautiful beaches and scenic sights. Many of the local residents immediately next to the LAMP site thrives on the tourism industry by being proprieters of budget hotels and homestays as well as managing the seafood industry to cater for the needs of locals and tourists alike. At the same time Kuantan also harbours one of the largest fishing port in Malaysia which registers more than 390 deep sea trawlers at its docks. The stigma that this industry brings will certainly bring a heavy blow to the local residents and Kuantan will not be an attractive destination for tourist anymore. Even right now as we sit here in this meeting, the prices of property in Kuantan have spiraled down. Not to mention the cost of health insurance that will be burdensome to the Kuantan tax payers. The Kuantan Local Council has  signed an undertaking to adopt the Local Agenda 21 in support of sustainable development way back in the year 2001. Thus, approving LAMP without prior consultation with the public and the stakeholders in Kuantan is a totally unacceptable act and contravenes the principles of sustainable development adopted in Local Agenda 21.

Lynas’ credibility?is greatly?questionable

(i)?Even in Australia, Lynas has a record of non compliance to the Safety Standards set in the original works approval for? (Environmental Assessment Report Amendments to works approval W4440/2008/1 regards tailings storage facility of their Concentration Plant in Mt Weld)

(ii) Lynas has been misleading the public by providing the Malaysian public as well as the Malaysian authorities with incomplete or skewed information.

(iii) Lynas is using Chinese standards in Malaysia as opposed to what they claim that they adhere to strict IAEA standards. By using Chinese standards (GB9133-88), they get away with their claim that the waste is NON RADIOACTIVE since the specific radioactivity level of their waste is at 61 Bq/g ( the limit in Chinese Standards is 74Bq/g while the limit in Australia and by IAEA standards is 1 Bq/g) The RIA report dated June 2010 confirms the specific radioactivity level of the waste.

6)?SIGNED PETITION From the Kuantan FolksCopies of 51,000 plus petition collected from Kuantan alone (from 15th March – 30th May 2011) suffice to impress upon the panel the grievance of the Kuantan public. This forms an integral part of the referendum.


The Citizens of Kuantan are not opposed to development.

However, we would like to assert strongly that the development we desire is in the form of


Therefore, we demand the government of Malaysia to stop Lynas from operating its rare earth processing plant in Kuantan or anywhere in Malaysia. We do not have faith that whatever recommendations given by the panel can be and will be complied to. We do not want to face a radioactive problem in our backyard when Gebeng is turned into an onsite radioactive waste dumping ground for LAMP forever. We certainly do not want to subject ourselves or our family members to severe health threats while Lynas make their way to the bank, laughing..

Our expected outcome from your mission here in Malaysia will be that we expect you to advise the government of Malaysia as well as the state government of Pahang that they have made a mistake in giving approval for LAMP to be constructed in Gebeng. Never the less it is not too late for the Malaysian authorities to make the right moral decision for the Concerned Citizens, all 700,000 living within 30 km radius of LAMP which is NOT to ISSUE an Operating License due in September.

I also trust that the panel will make its decision based on conscience, putting lives and environment first before profits, as the lives of the citizens are of paramount importance, priceless and totally not negotiable.

Representation From the Kuantan Concern Citizens

Represented by:

Fuziah Salleh
Member of Parliament,
30th May 2011

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh to meet the IAEA Panel Monday 30th May 2011, 3.30pm at Hyatt Kuantan

Kuantan MP YB Fuziah Salleh cordially invites all members of the media to a press conference immediately after her meeting with the IAEA Panel on Monday 30 May 2011, which is expected to last half an hour, at 3:30pm. Venue: Hyatt Kuantan

The people of Kuantan will also be submitting the signed petition to IAEA panel at the same time.

Hope to see all of you there.

Thank You and Regards.
Fuziah Salleh
Kuantan MP, Malaysia

Video Clip: The Pre-Council of Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Experts with Kuantan Stakeholders to Face IAEA Panel 29 May 20011 (Part 2)

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh is having a pre-council meeting to strategize with the Kuantan stakeholders before meeting with the IAEA Panel – 29 May 20011

Video Clip: The Pre-Council of Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Experts with Kuantan Stakeholders to Face IAEA Panel 29 May 20011 (Part 1)

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh is having a pre-council meeting to strategize with the Kuantan stakeholders before meeting with the IAEA Panel – 29 May 20011

IAEA Panel and MITI must acknowledge the importance of every stakeholder and must be transparent in the process of public consultation

Press Release
MP Kuantan
26th May 2011

IAEA Panel and MITI must acknowledge the importance of every stakeholder and must be transparent in the process of public consultation

The Kuantan Parliamentary office received a letter from MITI on the 24th May, informing about the appointment given to MP for Kuantan and her team of 3 to meet the IAEA panel for Monday 30th May. Upon my question who are the other stakeholders that have been given appointment, the coordinator for MITI said that he does not have the liberty to disclose.

I have also been made to understand that all the stakeholders are to meet the Panel in private sessions without any session which is specifically allocated for the Panel to meet the public in one big forum.

Today MITI made a public announcement in 3 national newspapers ie Sin Chew, China Press and the Star. The announcement is an invitation to the public to present their concerns to the Panel. In choosing only 3 newspapers, MITI has overlooked the Malay public that reads the Malay newspapers. At the same time MITI’s action has discriminated the readers of the other english and chinese newspapers.

It’s every stakeholder’s right to put their concerns across and the panel must listen to each and every stakeholder’s worries and concerns. It is also important for the panel to be transparent in the process of getting feedback from the public.

Thus having some private sessions and at least one or two public forum is neccessary in this process of consultation with the public.

I would like to remind the panel and MITI that the Kuantan citizens are the ones most affected by LAMP thus they should be the ones that the panel must allocate time to and listen to most.

Fuziah Salleh
MP for Kuantan

Press Release Fuziah Salleh – Nothing less than IAEA Safety Standards for LAMP

Press Release
Fuziah Salleh
MP for Kuantan

24th May 2011

Nothing less than IAEA Safety Standards for LAMP

The Panel of IAEA Experts appointed by the government of Malaysia to assess LAMP (Lynas Advanced Material Plant) will be in Malaysia from 29th May-3rd June 2011.

The fact that the Malaysian government has engaged IAEA speaks for itself that LAMP is dealing with hazardous materials and the handling of materials containing radioactive activity will be the central issue.

But then again, the question remains on what is ‘safe’ as well as what are the Safety Standards that’s going to be used as a benchmark.

Malaysians especially the citizens of Kuantan has a right to know whether the standards to be used is going to be China Standards or Australian Standards or IAEA Standards? The panel may be pro nuclear in their personal capacity, however, they must remember that their role is to be regulator and not to be promoter in this particular task in Kuantan.

The Amendments to Work Approval on Lynas Rare Earth Concentration Plant dated 1st April 2011 (Work Approval  No: W4440/2008/1) mentioned that the radiation specific activity of the tailings at the Lynas Concentration Plant in Mt Weld exceeds the limit of 1 Bq/g set for non- radioactive tailings set by DOIR – (Department of Industry and Resources). The Environmental Assessment Report that accompanied the Amendment to the Work Approval also mentioned that Lynas needs to increase the impermeability of the lining of their storage facility and that Lynas has not complied to the original requirements as in the original Works Approval, thus Lynas has to make additional lining in order to decrease the permeability of the tailing storage facility. (**)

Bearing in mind that operations in LAMP is much more complicated when compared to Lynas’s Concentration Plant in Mt Weld, it is interesting to note that AELB has not made any criticism on the PEIA conducted on LAMP. Considering the PEIA on LAMP was received by the DOE of Pahang on the 20

th January 2008 and approved 3 weeks later on the 15th Feb 2008, I wonder why is it that it was too easy for DOE of Pahang to give an approval on such a high risk project. This goes to strengthen my argument that the Malaysian government does not have the capacity to monitor the enforcement on the safety of an industry such as LAMP.

Lynas Corp on the other hand has been quoting the Chinese Standards in their proposal to Trengganu State government in 2007. Presumably the same proposal is forwarded to Pahang, then the radiation specific activity that Lynas is quoting sets

the limit of 74 Bq/g for the waste to be categorised as non radioactive waste (**) We can compare and contrast here that the difference is 70 times. It goes further to strengthen my argument that Lynas is using different standards in Australia

and different standards in Malaysia. Lynas is also taking advantage of the lax environmental laws in Malaysia to push a proposal using the Chinese Standards.

Since the Scope of Work for the panel of experts, include the various aspects of handling the project from transportation to occupational health to processing and decommissioning, we hereby assert that we expect the Panel to strictly adhere to the various IAEA Safety Code regards the above scope of work, and nothing less.

The Kuantan and Kemaman Citizens, 700,000 in total within the 30km radius of LAMP, will be watching. And the whole world will be watching with full scrutiny that the Panel perform their task with full integrity, transparency and accountability firstly to the people of Kuantan and the panel will have to be answerable to the 700,000 lives within the 30 km radius (since Gebeng Industrial Zone does not have an internal buffer zone). They, the panel must also remember that they must first be answerable to the public, rather than to the government that appoints them.

Fuziah Salleh
MP for Kuantan
On Behalf of the Kuantan Concerned Citizens.

URL of Work Approval: W4440/2008/1

Kenyataan Media Presiden KEADILAN berkenaan kejadian tanah runtuh Hulu Langat.

Kisah tanah runtuh Hulu Langat di rumah Persatuan Anak Yatim dan Madrasah Al-Takwa, Felcra Semungkis, Batu 14 merupakan satu tragedi. Ia menggesa kita semua mengambil iktibar dengan apa yang terjadi dan mempertingkatkan lagi kesedaran serta keprihatinan dalam kehidupan seharian.Saya sempat menziarah mangsa yang terselamat juga bersama jenazah di Masjid Bt 14. Suasana sebak dan pilu menyelubungi hadirin yang hadir, apatah lagi bagi anak-anak yatim yang terselamat bila mengenangkan teman-teman yang terkorban. Pastinya trauma yang mereka alami memerlukan sedikit masa untuk sembuh dan bakal memberi impak dalam kehidupan mendatang.Tidak lupa dengan kecekapan dan ketangkasan anggota keselamatan serta para sukarelawan harus dipuji. Mereka bertungkus lumus menyelamatkan anak-anak dalam hujan lebat dan keadaan tanah yang masih menunjukkan pergerakan yang tidak menentu.KEADILAN memandang tragedi ini sebagai satu peringatan kepada manusia terhadap kepentingan menjaga keselamatan di tempat tinggal, sekolah, hospital dan terutamanya tempat-tempat anak-anak yatim dan orang-orang tua. Sikap tanggungjawab terhadap ciri-ciri keselamatan mesti dititikberatkan agar kejadian sama tidak berulang.KEADILAN  menggesa kerajaan Negeri Selangor menyiasat punca terjadinya tanah runtuh ini. Siasatan juga hendaklah dilakukan ke atas semua pembinaan bangunan dilereng-lereng bukit termasuk premis-premis persendirian. Sudah cukup Negara ini berhadapan dengan kejadian seumpama ini.KEADILAN mendoakan agar mangsa yang terlibat akan diberikan perhatian untuk mereka dapat kembali dan terus melanjutkan pendidikan mereka. Takziah kepada keluarga mangsa semoga mereka tabah dengan ujian besar ini. Kepada anak-anak yang gugur syahid kita doakan agar mereka ditempatkan bersama para muslimin beriman.


ABC Asia Pacific News: Anger over rare earths refinery

Last Updated: Fri, 20 May 2011 21:18:00 +1000

Australian mining company Lynas is facing a backlash in Malaysia over the construction of a plant to refine rare earths.

The plant’s main waste contains the radioactive element thorium linked to birth defects and leukaemia and the people of Kuantan say they do not want it in their backyard.

The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery. [Australia Network]

The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery. [Australia Network]

But Lynas says the waste is safe and the Malaysian government had given approval for the plant to go ahead.

Recently, the Malaysian government bowed to public pressure and announced an inquiry into the safety of the plant.

It has appointed an independent panel of international experts to review the health and safety aspects of the project and report their findings to the government.

Local people say they are determined to stop the plant regardless of what the investigation finds.

Kuantan’s federal member of parliament, Fuziah Salleh, has been instrumental in mounting the campaign to stop the refinery plant.

On May 20 she led community groups from Kuantan in a protest march against Lynas to the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Ms Salleh is critical of what she says are lower environmental standards in Malaysia and double standards from Lynas.

“I’m very concerned that Lynas is taking advantage of the local laws and does not implement what it is supposed to implement in Australia, but rather use lower standards here in Malaysia,” she said.

“There has not been an industry, a refinery as large as Lynas outside China prior to this one.

“And that should have alerted our authorities to be more stringent, look into it more closely, to consult the public as well as to weigh the risk that this refinery will bring to the communities.”

According to Ms Salleh, the risk comes from the waste that will contain thorium left over once the rare earths are extracted.

Thorium occurs at low levels naturally in the environment but if ingested in food or water or inhaled through contaminated dust can increase the risk of cancer.

Refinery location
The city of Kuantan is located on Malaysia?s east coast about three hours from Kuala Lumpur. It is known for tourism and fishing.

In 2008, the government of Pahang State agreed to a plan to host the Lynas advanced materials plant.

The refinery is intended to supply a third of the world?s demand for rare earths, by processing concentrated ore shipped to Malaysia from the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Rare earths are a group of elements used in high tech equipment including phones and computers, hybrid cars and missiles.

Lynas were reportedly attracted to Malaysia by the 12-year tax free holiday offered by the government to boost investment.

Lynas’s executive chairman, Nick Curtis, said Kuantan was chosen as the location for the plant to take advantage of skilled labour there.

“We move it (concentrate) to a location where there is an advantage for us which is an existing chemical park where we can get the chemicals, where there’s sufficient water, where there’s gas and cheap energy, where there’s good, skilled labour,” he said.

“And on the east coast of Malaysia there is good, skilled labour.”

But an engineer and advisor to the Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia, Gurmit Singh, believes Malaysia was chosen because of relaxed environmental laws.

“Why don’t they do the processing in Australia? Why send it to Malaysia? It is the perfect example of a polluting industry being exported to a developing country,” he said.

Local objections
The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery.

They say the waste product thorium will affect fishing, tourism and public health.

The Anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas spokesperson, Vincent Jiam, said the community was not prepared to face the impacts the waste could have.

“The bigger impact is that the amount of waste, radioactive waste, that’s been permanently stored here, I feel that our people are not prepared to be committed to bear this burden,” he said.

But Lynas’s executive chairman Nick Curtis claims his company is the victim of a campaign of misinformation which has riled community fears.

“Now our job is to be very transparent to the community, give them the facts and encourage them to deal with those facts and think about the facts and know that the plant is safe.”

Mr Curtis said there is no discernible risk to the community of radiation exposure even for workers inside the plant.

“For somebody who works full-time in the concentrate plant at the end of the year they have had a radiation exposure less than if they’d had three X-rays during the year, so virtually nil and of no safety health hazard,” he said.

But an environmental engineer from Monash University, Dr Gavin Mudd, said one of the concerns about the Kuantan project was the lack of detail being provided by the company.

“There’s more than one waste stream that comes out of a process plant like a rare earths plant. So we need to have a full account of where all the inputs comes from and where all the waste goes and where the thorium sits in all of that,” Dr Mudd said.

“I think until we’ve got a full, transparent, public account of that then I think there are good reasons to have concerns.”

History repeated
Vincent Jiam operates a kindergarten in Kuantan and was so concerned about the refinery?s potential impact that he became chairman of the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas Group.

He said 20-years ago Mitsubishi chemicals was forced to shut its Asian Rare Earth plant in Bukit Merah near Penang because of thorium radiation.

A recent investigation by the New York Times newspaper found around Bukit Merah there was a higher level than normal of leukaemia and birth defects. The company continues to clean up the disaster.

Mr Jiam said he was concerned history would be repeated.

“In the past it was Asian Rare Earth and the after effects was actually very bad for our people,” he said.

But Lynas executive chairman Nick Curtis said the situation at Bukit Merah was different.

“Bukit Merah was a very different material with a very, very much higher level of radioactive materials in the residue material,” he said.

The $230 million plant is due to start operating in September.


Malaysian anti-Lynas campaign gains strength

Created: Fri, 13 May 2011 11:22:12 GMT+0800

AUDIO from Connect Asia

Protest against minerals processing plant

Created: Fri, 20 May 2011 11:22:12 GMT+0800

ABC Radio Australia: Msian protest outside Aust High Comm re Lynas

Updated May 20, 2011 21:15:20

Protestors have rallied outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur demanding that a rare earth processing plant be abandoned.

The plant being built in Malaysia by Australia’s Lynas Corporation will refine rare earth minerals from Western Australian iron ore. But the material contains the low level radioactive element thorium – and Malaysian activists say Australia should process it at home.

Correspondent: Zoe Daniel
Speaker: Rozaini Mohammed Rosli, spokeswoman for anti-rare earth Lynas refinery activists

DANIEL: The campaign against the Lynas plant seems to be gaining momentum. Activists who have been voicing their opposition in the media have now held a rally outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Spokeswoman Rozaini Mohammed Rosli says they submitted a memorandum to the high commissioner explaining their concerns – and demanding that the plant be stopped.

ROZAINI: Being an Australian company, the people of Malaysia would like that company to shift, operating their own operations in Australia, and not come here and establish any operational factory or such.

DANIEL: The plant will process iron ore shipped from WA that contains the low level radioactive element thorium.
The lucrative rare earth minerals obtained will be used in high tech batteries, TVs, mobile phones and aviation technology.
Within two years, the plant is expected to meet a third of world demand for the materials outside China and will yield 1.7 billion dollars a year in exports.

But the activists say Malaysia doesn’t need it. The country is still cleaning up an old Mitsubishi Chemicals rare earth plant at Bukit Merah that contaminated the area and caused birth defects and leukaemia in the population.

Rozaini Mohammed Rosli says another plant is not worth the risk.

ROZAINI: We don’t have a guarantee for the safety of the people in the future.

DANIEL: Do you think it’s realistic that the Malaysian government will stop the plant from going ahead, when it’s at such an advanced stage?

ROZAINI: They have to be a responsible government. They have so far, declined to expose any kind of information to the people. They should have consulted the people before engaging, or even thinking of having such a plant in the country.

DANIEL: But do you realistically think you can stop it now?

ROZAINI: We will try our best.

DANIEL: Is there anything that the Lynas Group could do to alleviate your concerns?

ROZAINI: Yeah, they can just stop the plant from continuing.

DANIEL: But the Lynas plant is almost complete and should open before the end of the year. The company says it will be processing ore with radioactivity less than 20 times lower than the old plant that made people sick. In a statement though, Lynas Corporation says that it respects the community’s right to speak out about the plant and welcomes the appointment of an independent panel to study the project.