PerthNow – Adele Carles ‘jumps gun’ on rare earth export danger

  • Nick Evans
  • From: PerthNow
  • September 05, 2011 1:10PM

Source: PerthNow

FREMANTLE MLA Adele Carles has been criticised for speaking out against Lynas Corporation’s plans to export rare earth through Fremantle, the day before she was due to receive a safety briefing from the company.

Ms Carles has called on the State Government to stop Lynas from exporting their cargo through Fremantle for fear that residents could be exposed to materials she claims are radioactive.

The Fremantle MP also criticised the company for a lack of consultation on the issue.

But Ms Carles’ office today confirmed that she is due to meet with representatives of Lynas at Parliament House tomorrow.

A Lynas spokesman today labelled Ms Carle’s comments as “alarmist and either mischievous or ill-informed.”

“The concentrate is not classified as Dangerous Goods by the criteria of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code for transport by road or rail, and it is not classified as a radioactive material due to its extremely low levels,” he said.

Rare earth consists of 17 chemical elements which are used in a variety of applications including mobile phones, magnets and lasers.

At a press conference today Ms Carles said: “This product is not necessarily a safe product. We know it has mildly radio-active material in it and that’s why there are radiation plans that apply to it.”

“This mine is open for 20 years so we’re looking at 20 years of radioactive material in Fremantle. I’m very concerned, it looks like the Magellan Experiment all over again.”

She called on the State’s Environmental Protection Authority to “have a good look at this proposal”, but the Lynas spokesman said the export plans have already been cleared by the WA Health and Environment departments.

“Transportation of the rare earths concentrate along the approved transport route from the Mount Weld mine to Fremantle Port does not present a radiation risk to public health or the environment,” he said.

The Fremantle MP is currently playing host to a Malaysian delegation opposed to Lynas’ plans to establish a refinery in the town of Kuantan, on Malaysia’s east coast.

Popular concerns about radioactive waste from the refinery in Kuatan led to the Malaysian government calling in the International Atomic Energy Agency to review the Australian company’s plans.

The IAEA delivered its report at the end of June, recommending the Malaysian government impose 11 new conditions before approving the facility, which is currently under construction.

The new conditions include requirements that Lynas develop a stronger long term waste management plan, including a decommissioning plan, and make some technical changes to the plant to allow some waste products to be declared “non-radioactive for the purposes of regulation”.

Lynas has previously said it intends to comply with all of the IAEA recommendations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *