FRIENDS OF THE EARTH AUSTRALIA :: CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Thursday May 19 2011
**Lynas Must Reveal details of Malaysian Rare Earths Facility**
This Friday 20th May residents of Kuantan and other groups will hold a solidarity walk to the Australian High Commission in Malaysia against Lynas Pty Ltd.
Australian environmental groups Friends of the Earth Australia and the Conservation Council of Western Australia are calling for the Rare Earth miner to stop construction of their Malaysian Advanced Materials Plant until all details about waste management from the facility are known.
Friends of the Earth spokesperson Natalie Lowrey said, “It is not good enough to leave local residents in the dark about the long term implication of how this facility will deal with its radioactive thorium and caustic waste products. We believe that the risks of this development could leave a toxic legacy for decades to come.”
Concerns are increasing in Malaysia over the construction of the rare earths processing facility at Kuantan. Four people were arrested opposing the development last weekend and over 1000 people demonstrated against the construction of the facility two weeks ago.
“Clearly the local residents are not happy at all about this development. It is clear that this problem is escalating, which in turn could threaten the viability of the project”, said Ms Lowrey
“We fear that the Malaysian Government may enforce harsh measures against protesters of which Lynas will be fully responsible.”
There are a number of issues that the company must answer including release of a full environmental assessment for the site.
“Lynas has not made this information publicly available before embarking on the construction of the Kuantan site which could indicate that they have something to hide” said Ms Lowrey.
Mia Pepper, nuclear free campaigner, Conservation Council of Western Australia said “There are a lot of un-answered questions about the plans for radioactive waste disposal from this project, the secrecy is unacceptable and the dangers to health are all too familiar.”
The Malaysian community is calling for the plant to be stopped, highlighting concerns regarding a similar Mitsubishi (Asian Rare Earth) plant located on the other side of the Malay Peninsula at Bukit Merah which closed in 1992 after years of sometimes violent demonstrations, several leukemia cases and a $100 million costly cleanup.
The rare earths project is also causing issues in Western Australia.
Ms Pepper said, “Radioactive thorium 232 will also be transported through Fremantle in hessian bags, the same method used by Magellan to transport lead which caused lead contamination outside shipping containers until Magellan was forced to shut down. It’s not good enough for WA and it’s not good enough for Malaysia.”
There will be 40 trucks a week transporting rare earths from Mount Weld to Fremantle; the rare earths will then be shipped to Kuantan in Malaysia for further processing.
For more information:
Natalie Lowrey, mining campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia, +61 421 226 200, email@example.com
Mia Pepper, nuclear free campaigner, Conservation Council of Western Australia, +61 415 380 808, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Earth Australia
(Asia Pacific representative, Friends of the Earth International Resisting Mining, Oil & Gas program, Co-editor ProtestBarrick.net)
ProtestBarrick.net :: FOLLOW US :: facebook.com/protestbarrick :: twitter.com/stopbarrick :: youtube.com/waysofseeing
M: +61 421 226 200
Skype: Natalie Lowrey