‘Leaving behind a toxic legacy for decades’

By G Vinod | May 19, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Two Australian environmental groups believe that the Lynas rare earth mine in Kuantan would leave a toxic legacy for decades.

The environmental groups – Friends of the Earth Australia and the Conservation Council of Western Australia – said that by not revealing the data before embarking on the project in Kuantan, company has something to hide.

The groups in a joint statement said they want the Kuantan project stopped until the company reveals its environmental assessment data of the site.

In its criticism against Lynas Corporation Limited, Friends of the Earth Australia spokesperson Natalie Lowrey said it was improper for Lynas to withhold details on how it plans to manage its radioactive components from public scrutiny.

“By not revealing the data before embarking on the project in Kuantan, it indicates they have something to hide. We believe the project would leave a toxic legacy for decades,” said Lowrey.

Conservation Council of Western Australia spokesperson Mia Pepper said Australians were also concerned as Lynas plans to ship its thorium to Malaysia via the Fremantle port in Western Australia.

“And the thorium will be transported through hessian bags, the same method used by Magellan to transport lead which caused lead contamination outside its shipping containers,” said Pepper.

In January, Magellan Metals, a base metal mining company in Western Australia, was forced to shut down temporarily after leaks of toxic lead were detected in rail containers at Fremantle port.

Malaysians are calling for the project to be stopped, highlighting concerns regarding a similar plant in Bukit Merah which closed in 1992 after years of public protests.

The Bukit Merah plant had been linked to eight leukemia cases with seven deaths so far.
The plant operator, Mitsubishi Chemicals, is still running a massive RM300 million clean-up operation in the area.

Yesterday, Western Australia MP Lynn MacLaren had called on the State Transport Minister, Troy Buswell, to stop the shipment of Lynas’ Thorium deposits to Malaysia.

She said that the Malaysian rare earth project was currently being reviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) due to public concerns about radiation health and safety.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 1:32 pm

    If it is so safe as claimed, why not build it in Sydney, next to the Opera House?

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 1:44 pm

    O no, hv it next 2 our PM’s residence in Putrajaya, also create jobs for ppl there mah

  3. #3 by Cinapek on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 1:59 pm

    ‘Leaving behind a toxic legacy for decades’

    When I read this heading, my first thought was the writer was talking about our mamak ex PM. Because we do have a toxic legacy in the form of a tainted judiciary, compromised PDRM, EC and MACC, Little Napoleons, BTN, NEP, Ketuanans, Perkasa, ISA, HP6 ministers, unsolved C4 murder, massive brain drains, deaths of detainees in police and MACC custody, declining university standards, spiralling crime rates, increasing religious and racial intolerance and rhetoric, etc. etc.

  4. #4 by Cinapek on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 2:06 pm

    Pardon my layman questions. Australia has a huge empty outback so why are they incurring all the expenses to send all their toxic waste all the way to Malaysia? Is it because they know they cannot convince the Oz authorities on the safety of their waste or is it because they want to cut treatment cost and instead ship the poorly treated waste to a bunch of gullible Malaysians eager to welcome any Mat Salleh investor? That plus maybe bragging rights for the upcoming GE that they have brought in FDI ? And with a little gentle greasing as well?

  5. #5 by drngsc on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 5:30 pm

    Where got so stupid one. Big, large Australia don’t want the toxic legacy, and small Malaysia become the “saw-cai”.
    This government really does not care about us and the future.
    The government must not thing of the best case scenario, when it has to do with potential for harm. They must always consider the worse case scenario. What should something go wrong? No body wish that, but should it happen shall we just hold up our hands and say, bad-luck??
    Dear government, please having poisoned us, do not poison our future ones too.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya, and soon.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 5:34 pm

    This is what the BN government is good at – attracting polluting industries that are not wanted anywhere else so that they can meet their KPI on FDI. The Perak State signed an MoU on mining rare earths at Tanah Merah, then disowned it when there was an outcry. It wasn’t meant to be made public, but the silly HK investor had to make it public. Pahang UMNO approved the Lynas plant because it had bragging rights. Soon Sarawak will be announcing aluminium and manganese smelters taking advantage of our cheap power, cheap water, and cheap labour – but also polluting our rivers and lakes.

    This is what BN has been reduced to – attracting FDI that can’t find a home anywhere else, and this FDI knows that the BN government is a “negotiable” government.

  7. #7 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 7:38 pm

    You pay corruption money to umno, they will dance like clowns for you. you give crumbs to MCA, they will prostitute for you. you give peanuts to mic, they will sit quietly like beggars. in the end it is common Malay, Chinese and Indian who suffer in Kuantan.

    if rare earth is so clean, why Singapore or Indonesia did not bid for it?

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