Malaysian activists target corporate polluter’s HQ

July 9, 2011
Video: Stop Lynas: Malaysians protest at corporate HQ in Sydney. peterboyle53/YouTube.

Before they could have a face-to-face meeting with the Australian mining company company Lynas Corporation, a dozen resident activists from Kuantan, Malaysia, took a journey all the way to Sydney to launch a protest outside Lynas headquarters on July 5.
Lynas is building a radioactive waste-producing rare earth refinery in their coastal city of 500,000 people. Some 700,000 people live within a 30km radius of the Lynas refinery site.
It intends to export concentrated ore from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia to Kuantan. A powerful movement of local residents and environmental activists is opposing the operation because they fear the highly toxic and radioactive waste that will be left behind will poison the local people and their environment.
“This refinery is very harmful to the people and the environment,” Kuantan resident Haji Ismail Abu Bakar told  Green Left Weekly.
“The 12 of us came here to get the sympathy of the people of Australia and to urge the government of Australia to stop Lynas operations in Gebeng, Kuantan.”
He said residents feared that toxic and radioactive waste would escape from the refinery into the river and then into the sea.
The waste would remain dangerously radioactive for millions of years. Haji said it would “affect generations to come”.
Another delegation member Professor Chee-Khoon Chan, an award-winning epidemiologist and health expert at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya, told GLW that the short meeting they had with Lynas CEO Nick Curtis and other company officials after their protest was not very fruitful, but it was the first meeting the company has had with concerned local residents.
Earlier requests for community consultation had been met with offers from Lynas for a closed door meeting with the local Malaysian MP Fuziah Salleh ― an offer she has rebuffed.
Chee said he had reviewed the scientific studies about the effects of the radioactive waste the rare earths refinery will produce. They indicated workers and local residents faced significantly higher cancer risks as a result.
“The people of Kuantan don’t want to be experimental rats,” he said.
The issue had become entwined with global politics, Chee added.
The Japanese company Mitsubishi had operated an earlier rare earths refinery in Bukit Merah, Malaysia, which was closed after a 12-year fight by local residents.
The company has bought a significant stake in Lynas. China, which is the biggest rare earths producer is also buying shares in Lynas.
The Malaysia delegation also met with Greens Senators Scott Ludlam and Lee Rhiannon as well as Labor Senator Doug Cameron in Canberra.


I don't think it is possible to be so ignorant about the subject and have the gall to write an article about it.
Minor correction, it's Morgan Stanley which owns the 9.99% shares in Lynas that are listed as Mitsubishi... Due to ASX requirements, as Mitsubishi bought 2% more of Morgan Stanley so they now own like 22% of Morgan Stanley. For some reason they have to list Morgan Stanley's shares in Australia as controlled by Mitsubishi or something like that... It has nothing to do with Rare Earth's
The article covers local activists who are campaigning against the operation and a recent visit to Australia - as far as I can tell, it has been well informed in its coverage of that. Would you care to inform us of any knowledge you have that highlights this supposed ignorance? Perhaps the Malaysian people who will suffer from this plant aren't actually protesting against it?

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