By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 – Lynas Corp said today it remained disturbed by persistent opposition to its rare earths plant here, spurred by what the Australian miner claimed was a "concerted political campaign".
“This concerted political campaign, which is based on misinformation, is sabotaging the science based, regulatory process established in Malaysia and confidence in that process,” its executive chairman Nicholas Curtis said in an statement today.
The High Court had earlier today ruled against a local resident group's attempt for a review of the government's award of a temporary operating licence (TOL) for its RM700 million Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang.
Despite the favourable court ruling, Curtis stressed that the persistent scare tactic was hurting not only its project but Malaysia’s draw as an investment hub.
The Sydney-based firm has steadily rejected attempts to link its rare earths ore, mined from Mount Weld in Western Australia, to material produced from Bukit Merah, the site of the Japanese-owned Asian Rare Earths (ARE) plant Malaysia's first rare earths project back in the 1980s and which were believed to have led to an increased number of deaths from cancer and birth defects.
Curtis urged Putrajaya to "provide certainty to Malaysian and international businesses that they will not be frustrated by a campaign of delay once those companies have completed the pre-defined and rigorous Malaysian Government regulatory approvals process."
He added that Lynas Corp would continue its efforts to manage the "misinformation", and would immediately focus on appeal to the Innovation, Science and Technology Minister, scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday at the Malaysian Nuclear Agency in Bangi.
Last Tuesday, Lynas Corp’s Malaysian subsidiary said the plant would be ready to fire up operations in three weeks’ time.
Ten local residents failed today in their attempt to challenge the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s (AELB) authority to approve a temporary operating licence (TOL) for Australian miner Lynas Corp’s controversial rare earth plant in Kuantan.
Justice Rohana Yusuf said that she had rejected the group's bid for a judicial review on the grounds that a parliamentary select committee (PSC) as well as the science, technology and innovation minister were already looking into the same issues raised by the residents.
Tomorrow, an umbrella group of 22 non-governmental organisations called Solidariti SeMalaysia Himpunan Hijau will stage nationwide anti-Lynas protests at mosques across the country after Friday prayers.