Rare earth ore in Kuantan under heavy police escort
Lee Weng Keat
9:14AM Nov 22, 2012
More than 100 containers containing rare earth ore have arrived in Kuantan port near midnight under unusually heavy police presence.
Stop Lynas Coalition chairperson Andansura Rabu, who was at the port, told Malaysiakini that a large number of police and Lynas employees were at the dock last night.
According to him, some 102 containers arrived at Kuantan port at about 11pm, which he suspected contain raw material for the controversial Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng.
Meanwhie Lynas issued a brief statement today confirming that the news.
“Lynas Corporation ispleased to announce that approximately 100 containers of rare earths concentrate have now arrived in Kuantan,” it announced on its official website today.
On Monday, Lynas announced that the processing of the raw materials will begin next month after winning a court battle against activists who are against the plant, which many fear produces radioactive wastes.
According to Andansura, the transportation of these containers to the plant about 7km away started between 1am to 2am. He said they were moved by container trucks under police escort and the process was still underway as at 8am morning.
No photographs allowed
Although the port documents did not specify the material stored inside the containers, Andansura said the heavy police presence had led him to believe that it was rare earth ore from Australia.
He also claimed that the police had closed down the main road from the port to the plant, and deployed three police cars to escort the container trucks. There were another two police vehicles parked at the port.
The police stopped Andansura and a number of other anti-Lynas activists from taking photographs and they were repeatedly barred from the area.
In an official statement later this morning, Lynas confirmed that “approximately 100 containers of rare earths concentrate have now arrived in Kuantan, and that a significant portion of those containers are now at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp)”.
“Lynas expects that first feed to kiln and commencement of operations at the Lamp will occur over the coming days,” it says.
The containers came at a time when anti-Lynas coalition Himpunan Hijau is holding a 300km march from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur, while another group Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) is in Australia to lobby against the plant.