Since it began operating its controversial rare earth refinery in Malaysia in 2013, Australian company Lynas Corp has produced about 450,000 tonnes of radioactive waste. Peter Boyle interviewed Malaysian environmental and residents’ rights activist Jade Lee from the Stop Lynas Campaign about the latest developments.
Sixteen concerned residents of Kuantan travelled all the way from Malaysia to Sydney to protest at the November 28 shareholders' annual general meeting of an Australian rare earth mining and refining company. Lynas Corporation's toxic refinery in the outskirts of Kuantan (population 700,000) on Malaysia's east coast is deeply unpopular with local residents and other concerned Malaysians who, together with Australian supporters, have mounted protests in Sydney at the past four AGMs.
Australian-based organisation Stop Lynas released a paper on August 28 criticising Australian rare earths company Lynas for operating without a social licence in Malaysia. The paper has been submitted to Lynas for response.
Australian environmental campaigner Natalie Lowrey has been released after spending five days in a Malaysian prison. She was arrested in Kuantan, Malaysia on June 22 after participating in a protest against Australian company Lynas. A petition for her release gained 15,000 signatures and protests calling for her release were held in Sydney, Perth and Alice Springs. The “Shut Lynas Down” protest was organised by the Green Assembly, a Malaysian environment movement protesting Lynas’ polluting rare earths processing plant.
We are currently in Malaysia standing in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who vehemently oppose Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corporation and their highly toxic and radioactive rare earth refinery plant near this city of 600,000 people.
Wong Tack, the chairperson of the Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) environmental group which has been campaigning against the Australian company Lynas' toxic rare earth refinery in Malaysia, was manhandled and pushed up against a wall by security personnel when his group peacefully protested at the "Australia Day" celebration held in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. READ MORE: 'A million Malaysians say shut polluter Lynas' The invitation-only event was hosted by the Australian High Commission and was attended by Lynas executives.
Six Malaysian activists from the Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) group have begun a three-day occupation of the entrance to the corporate headquarters of Lynas in Sydney. The Australian company has built an unwanted toxic rare earths refinery in Kuantan , Malaysia. They have come armed with a petition with signatures from 1.2 million Malaysians who demand that the toxic plant be shut down by June 29, 2014 at the latest.
In the dead of night on November 22, 100 containers of concentrated rare earth ore mined in Western Australia began to be transported, under heavy police escort, through the port of Kuantan to a new refinery built by Australian company Lynas. This took place just two days after 19 local residents travelled to Sydney to protest at the company's annual general meeting and while another group of protesters were on a 300 kilometre protest march to Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur over the issue.
The sleepy central Malaysian town of Raub was the focus of a 15,000-strong Himpunan Hijau (Green Gathering) national convergence of environmental activists on September 2. The immediate focus of the convergence was to support local community opposition to the use of cyanide in gold mining operations near the town by the Raub Australian Gold Mine. But activists also came from another major environmental campaign, against a toxic rare earths refinery in that has been built by Lynas, an Australian corporation, near the city of Kuantan.
Resident group activists in Malaysia who have been campaigning to stop an Australian corporation, Lynas, from building a highly toxic rare earth refinery near Kuantan, Pahang, celebrated a little victory after Justice Mariana Yahya of the Kuantan High Court agreed on August 28 to hear their application for two judicial reviews.