Green MP – Lynn MacLaren MLC speaks in the same voice as the Kuantan Citizens

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council
Parliament of Western Australia

17th May 2011


Fremantle-based Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren calls on the State Transport Minister to halt planned shipments of rare earth with radioactive Thorium 232 through Fremantle in bags eerily similar to the ill-fated export of double-bagged Magellan lead. 

“This is so much worse than the iron ore transport which the Minister has recently ruled out for our City port operations,” said the Greens Transport spokesperson. 

The proposed shipment of material containing radioactive thorium will travel through Fremantle for shipment and processing in Malaysia. Under the International Atomic Energy Agency, a high level international panel of experts is now investigating the Malaysian Lynas Project due to public concerns about radiation health and safety. 

Greens warn radiation levels of the material are just shy of the level which would trigger special export license requirements for hazardous material. It is anticipated that within two months the material will be trucked in sealed bags in Seatainers similar to Magellan lead. 

The proposed Lynas Mount Weld operation near Laverton plans to process the material partly inAustralia lifting the radioactive thorium levels of its rare earth product to 1500 parts per million. The material would then be transported to Malaysia, the rare earth extracted and the thorium removed and dumped there. 

“This is hazardous material export under the radar of our environmental controls,” said Ms MacLaren.


Greens Nuclear issues spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC was tipped off about these plans by an overseas investigator. Mr Chapple has been liaising with members of the Malaysian Parliament and the local community who are very concerned about the Thorium bound for their shores.


The B-double truck movements from Mt. Weld to Fremantle, initially will be 2 per week eventually reaching 40 per week, first to Forrestfield or Hazelmere and then to a holding yard at Fremantle where it will be exported from both wharves.


The Greens think that people living along the transport route and the Fremantle community would have something to say about a radioactive substance being shipped through their communities in this manner.


Mr Chapple condemned plans by Lynas to strip out and dump the radioactive material near fishing communities in the Malaysian state of Kuantan, citing widespread community and political opposition in that country to the refine-and-dump proposal.


He said, I have been in touch with community groups in Malaysia and that country’s press and there is no desire there to see Western Australia’s toxic by-products dumped near local villages. The Member of Parliament for Kuantan has called for any Thorium refined from the exported material to be returned to Australia. 

Due to concerns about the Malaysian plant and civil unrest ( ) with many thousands marching against the proposal to process the rare earth and strip out the thorium at Kuantan the Malaysian Government has now appointed an independent panel tasked with reviewing health and safety aspects of Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s operations in Kuantan, this is expected to present its report within a year. ( ) 

“The people of Kuantan are watching Western Australia very closely on this.  The Malaysian media and the international media are watching to see if the State and Commonwealth governments make a responsible decision as to how this mine is operated and how its product will be exported.” 

Robin Chapple MLC has now met with Lynas on two occasions and is awaiting the delivery of the latest transport management plan.  The current version, according to the company, still has factual/grammatical errors


“The Barnett Government surely does not want to be complicit in the transport of radioactive materials through Fremantle, having stated repeatedly that he does not wish to see radioactive material exported from Western Australian ports.” Robin


Fuziah Salleh, member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kuantan constituency in Pahang, has called for the radioactive thorium waste, still at 1500 ppm, from the Lynas Corporation advanced materials plant at the industrial port of Kuantan to be returned to Western Australia from where it originated, this has been rejected by the West Australian Government (Norman Moore) because it does not support the importation and storage of other countries’ radioactive waste. (Question Without Notice No. 222 asked in the Legislative Council on 5 April 2011 by Hon Robin Chapple) 

“I would hope that he does not want to also be complicit in the dumping of radioactive waste in another country.”

“The Premier must take action to compel Lynas to ensure that no thorium leaves the Mt. Weld mine site.”

Fuziah Salleh can be contacted at or +60 (1927) 02838 


Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council
Parliament of Western Australia

Unit 7, 142 South Terrace
Fremantle, Western Australia 6160

Tel: +61.8.9430 7233
Fax: +61.8.9430

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