Lynas: A most important point appears forgotten

34
123

Australian Quarantine Officers may even seize a traveller’s footwear if mud or earth is found on the sole or side of the footwear, but here we are on the verge of allowing tons of Australian rare earth concentrate to enter Malaysian territory, observes tctai.

A Lynas stockpile of rare earth at Mount Weld in Laverton, Western Australia - Photograph: theanchorsite.com

All the information and public protests with regard to the Lynas project in the last three or four months appear to focus on the dangers of radiation and radioactive waste.

Based on what I have read in the mass media, I am in full agreement with the concerns that have been raised and the protests that have taken place opposing the approval of the Lynas proposal.

But I suspect that the Australians must be laughing at us, in particular the Malaysian authorities, over a matter that has not yet been raised and discussed openly.

This concerns the danger of importing foreign soil and earth that contains not only radioactive material but also potentially infested insects and diseases into Malaysia! Am I being unnecessarily alarmist? Or is there another potential danger here?

Australia is one of the countries that apply strict rules and regulations to protect its multimillion-dollar agricultural industry. Visitors who attempt to import fresh fruits, plants and plant products, eggs or egg products, meat or meat products, live animals, etc into Australia are severely dealt with by Australian Quarantine Officers. These items are restricted and would be confiscated at the point of entry into the country.

The Australians are worried that, the importing of, among others, fruit-flies, fungi and spores from outside the country could ruin and destroy local farmland, orchards and the cattle industry. Such concern extends to the level where, at any entry point into Australia, Australian Quarantine Officers may even seize a traveller’s footwear if mud or earth is found on the sole or side of the shoes.

In this regard, have the experts and authorities from the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, or for that matter from Lynas Corp itself, thought through how they are going to ensure that the millions of tons of rare earth concentrate that will be imported from Australia to Malaysia will not endanger the well-being of the local agricultural industry?

The imported earth may contain living organisms, insects, fungi, and spores which might be harmless to native Australian plants and livestock but might be very detrimental to local flora and fauna species, the millions of hectares of oil palm land, fruit plantations, paddy fields, and our jungles and forests. Worse, these Australian spores and fungi may even mutate under Malaysian conditions and then threaten or endanger our agricultural industry, our local wild-life and even the physical well-being of Malaysians.

I’m perplexed why the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry is keeping so silent on the Lynas issue and has not yet issued a statement about such potential danger. The public deserves a clarification from the Malaysian agricultural authorities too.

Sign Aliran's 'Save our Democracy" petition
Sign Aliran's petition calling for a review of the decision to grant Riza Aziz a DNAA
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
34 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kiyo Howell
Kiyo Howell
26 Nov 2012 8.53am

Anti-Propaganda,

This issues seems to be lingering for ever and ever.
Unfortunately, even with all your propaganda, the real people in Malaysia have decided that LAMP is an good investment.

Malaysian are now most definately laughing all the way to the bank, with Lynas now spending a fair few more MILLIONS in waiting for their approvals.

Logical minds think alike, and Australia NEVER once was not an choice for LAMP, Lynas has announced a LAMP style refinery in Australia for the new Duncan Deposit which differs in composition to what is being sent to Kuantan – this has not seen to be a PROBLEM anywhere in the World for good reason.

There never was any issues with LAMP, its all propaganda

Jackson
Jackson
7 Nov 2012 3.45pm

Antipropoganda, did you even know that the radiation levels required to make a substance have safety are LOWER in Malaysia than Australia ?

You claim this is all about dumping radioactive materials but you dont even know that the ore is not considered radioactive enough to be deemed unsafe in most of the western world… Malaysia makes it more difficult to have the lamp when it comes to radiation safety than australia, not easier…

Anti-propaganda
Anti-propaganda
7 Nov 2012 5.33pm
Reply to  Jackson

Right, sure. Malaysia “makes it more difficult”. So pray tell, why did Lynas come to Malaysia then? Warped logic. And we aren’t laughing over here. You probably wouldn’t be laughing either if you were next to Lamp instead of far away in Australia. Easy to pontificate in safety across the ocean.

Jackson
Jackson
7 Nov 2012 3.42pm

Wow, i just came across this page and really was an Australian laughing… You must be really desparate to use this claim as a reason to stop the lamp…

Millions of tons of earth which is far less processed than the feedstock for the lamp is shipped around the world every day… Instead of spending 99% of your efforts against lynas, try looking at the real killers in Malaysia… Coal power stations throw thorium, polloniu, and uranium into the air in far larger quantities than the lamp ever could, even if it was to simply throw all of its feedstock into the waterways… You guys have no idea of the real dangers because you have been brainwashed by the antilynas propoganda…. Google petronas if you want to know real danger in that very same industrial land that the lamp is at…. That company already pours waste into your waterways…

Anti-propaganda
Anti-propaganda
7 Nov 2012 5.31pm
Reply to  Jackson

So you want Lynas to add to it since we are already a happy dumping ground for polluting industries? Warped logic.

Johnyboy
Johnyboy
25 Apr 2012 4.07pm

Economic reasons:
1. Truck drivers in remote WA can earn over US$200,000per year
2. Chemists, engineers etc can earn over US $250,000 per year.

What is the median salary for these jobs in Malaysia???

There is your economic reasoning.

Anti-Propaganda
25 Apr 2012 8.58pm
Reply to  Johnyboy

Economic reason:

Heavy costs needed to minimise environmental damage in Australia under the country’s stringent environmental rules.

What is the standard of environmental protection and enforcement in Malaysia?

There is your economic reasoning.

Jangan Lawan Towkay
Jangan Lawan Towkay
24 Apr 2012 11.02pm

This Lynas fiasco was created by whom?

Yes, the very folks who could not be bothered to consult the local residents where the factory’s to be built.

So they committed and have to pay compensation just to let go Lynas – whose fault is that?

Those are the real idiots, not the residents who had to put up with the risks posed by the radioactive wastes from the factory.

So who are you calling idiots?

LEN
LEN
18 Apr 2012 1.57am

reasoning with idiots is a waste of time,I have never seen such pure stupidity as put forth by those against this great opportunity with lynas and Siemans.what a bunch of airheads. if they pull out,MALAYSIA WOULD BE AVOIDED LIKE A PLAGUE FOR DECADES.MALAYSIAN PUBLIC MINDSET WOULD NEVER BE TRUSTED AGAIN.TOO DENSE TO GET INVOLVED.

catherine Fernandez
catherine Fernandez
9 Apr 2012 3.10pm

… you … Australians … get lost from Malaysia

aborium
aborium
7 Apr 2012 3.13am

A biological-ecological nightmare waiting to happen. Stop Lynas for the sake of our children who won’t have to go through the agony and pain of being deformed or suffering from cancer due to long-term exposure from radiation. Bukit Merah should ring alarm bells.

Ahmad
Ahmad
5 Apr 2012 11.16am

You’re missing the point Anti-P… What the Malaysian government has done is left the bride at the altar… Everything was planned and agreed upon and then they don’t have the stones to go through with it because of false rumours and politicking… Sure dirty industries should be vetted more but don’t agree on something and then 3 years down the line go… Aaaaahh oooooo… Ummmmmm… No not sure we can have this… Nip it in the bud from day 1…. Lynas has not ‘dirtied’ your land as they haven’t even opened up yet.. What the … are you on about?.. So they should be compensated for wasting time and money of a foreign investor… You say Malaysia wants to be more ‘selective’ .. Well they were selective in choosing Lynas and agreed to allow them to set up.. Your problem is ingrained in your political system not the nature of the industry.. .Oh by the way I don’t flatter myself.. I’m just an independent view..Like I keep saying I wouldn’t even set up a fruit stall in Malaysia… This will be a fly in the ointment… Read more »

Anti-propaganda
5 Apr 2012 10.15am

Don’t fool or flatter yourself, Ahmad. Your views are hardly “impartial”.

I am against corporate propaganda that promotes dirty industries.

Malaysians won’t be weeping themselves silly if other investors in dirty industries were to similarly pull out of Malaysia. And don’t expect to be compensated for dirtying our land.

We want to be more selective in choosing the type of investments that are allowed in to ensure they are sustainable and not harmful to surrounding communities and the environment. (Australia is obviously mindful of that.) You got a problem with that?

soo kee foo
soo kee foo
5 Apr 2012 12.10am

I don’t understand the confusion. Mahatir’s son is in charge of the (ministry that invited Lynas) – surely that’s explanation enough as to why Lynas will do their dirty laundry in Malaysia.

Ahmad
Ahmad
4 Apr 2012 10.18am

By the way Anti-Propaganda… Lynas was granted permission to set up in Australia… They chose Malaysia for economic reasons.. Get your facts right before making silly comments.. But that seems to be the norm.. Make up stuff and argue it til blue in the face..

Anti-propaganda
5 Apr 2012 12.32am
Reply to  Ahmad

For economic reasons, eh? Pray tell, why is it not “economic” for Lynas to build its refinery in Australia when the mine and concentrator are located there?

Never mind, no need to explain, “Ahmad” (can you be a bit more imaginative with your pseudonym?).

We know it is a lot more “economic” to dump your waste in “Third World” Malaysia, right?

Ahmad
Ahmad
5 Apr 2012 2.06am

anti-propaganda, But I’m with you.. They should pull out.. But I’m also saying all other foreign investment should pull out as well. So you guys can just do your own thing..Continue burning all those forests for palm oil.. That would make you happy no?.. Cos you seem to be a bit paranoid that the evil Western companies are coming to your country to exploit and destroy it.. Most other economies see things like this as opportunity for trade… Thailand is a country that prospered massively with foreign investment.. They should have probably invested in Thailand… I’m sure after all this debacle many people will reconsider investing in Malaysia.. I totally understand if it was a case of the plant being planned and politicians stepped in to stop it but it was passed through many levels of government and now the opposition are just using it as a political bargaining chip.. You do realize that fertilizer companies, solar panel manufacturers, oil producing companies produce multiple times more toxic waste??.. And you’re now complaining about my pseudonym!!!!… Anti-Propaganda, I think you should rename yourself “Anti-everything”…Chill out..

Anti-propaganda
5 Apr 2012 8.17am
Reply to  Ahmad

Yeap, why not you take your rare earth refinery to a country that is more gullible. We DON’T want any investments that are harmful to the health of surrounding communities. We don’t want to be a “magnet” for investments in dirty industries. Comprehendo?

But we also wouldn’t want to wish this refinery on any community.

So why not you stick it in your own backyard since you think it is so safe, “Ahmad”. Probably more “economic” there.

As for my pseudonym, I am against corporate propaganda put out by individuals with a hidden agenda out to hoodwink the public. Get used to it.

Ahmad
Ahmad
5 Apr 2012 10.08am

You’ve just repeated what I said about pulling out…. Oh by the way Anti-P. I’m not Australian and no I’m not Chinese.. So that’s why I have quite an impartial view on this.. Malaysia looked like it tried to be one of the big boys and is now getting spanked… Like I said all foreign investment should be pulled out of Malaysia.. Why would anyone invest in Malaysia after these shenannigans… “Hidden agenda’s?” “Hoodwinking”… So you’re against corporate propaganda but pro-political propaganda??… Got it thanks for clearing that up.. You’re a trooper.. Keep it up…

Rob
Rob
4 Apr 2012 8.53am

I too am perplexed at the unbelievable statement that you don’t want the proven and tested safe Australian business. You say you don’t want our pollution, you tell us to stay in our own country.
I.ll tell you why Lynas wanted to invest in Malaysia, not because we wanted to dump our rubbish in a third world country but because your successive smart governments have made it attractive to invest in Malaysia. You provide the right environment, the right qualified people, in other words the right place to invest. Like IBM like Acer, like HP all world renowned companies all producing waste in their manufacturing process but all safe like LYNAS invest and provide employment because you are a smart country not because you are a third world country, you are not third world any more. You have the most advanced technical park equal to any in the world in KL.
Wake up Malaysia, get beyond the politics and enjoy the investment opportunity that you are being offered.

Anti-propaganda
5 Apr 2012 12.24am
Reply to  Rob

So following your logic, are you saying that successive Australian governments have been STUPID for not making it attractive enough for Lynas to set up its refinery in Australia? Gee, I wonder why the Australian government did not make it more attractive for Lynas to build its refinery in Australia..

Come on, Rob, we are not as stupid as you would like to believe. Gone are the days when you can dump your waste in “Third World” countries and get away with it.

thendos
thendos
4 Apr 2012 7.29am

it is alarming that this dribble gets published!

Ahmad
Ahmad
3 Apr 2012 5.52pm

I then think, that Lynas pulls out and the 600 million + penalty for wasting time and resources (construction/ loss of earnings) should be paid back to Lynas. It will set them back a few years so they will have to be compensated for that as they invested in good faith.
If Malaysia are happy to pay out close to 1 billion dollars then Lynas should exit and set up in a country that has a more professional mindset. I think the politicking that people like Fuziah are carrying on with is doing untold damage to Malaysia. Who in their right mind would even set up a fruit stall after this charade?.. It’s crazy to see so many people follow like sheep when the ‘facts’ are just being made up … IT…. IS …. NOT…. A….. NUCLEAR….. POWERPLANT…… WAKE… UP…. Politician are using you as pawns to look like heroes…

Anti-propaganda
4 Apr 2012 2.17am
Reply to  Ahmad

No compensation for polluting industries. Instead they should be heavily fined, penalised and kicked out.

No compromise on public health!

If Lynas wants a country with a “professional” mindset, I know a place where they can set up their rare earth refinery – Australia. Yes, go build your “advanced” rare earth refinery in Australia. See if you can build it there.

We don’t want it here in Malaysia! Get it? Comprehendo? Don’t think you can dump your waste in a “Third World” country and get away with it. Gone are those days.

Ahmad
Ahmad
4 Apr 2012 9.49am

Anti-Propaganda… You realize you are actually propaganda!!!!.. For the unscientific facts presented day after day.. But one thing I do agree with is they should pull out of Malaysia… So should every other foreign industry.. Malaysia agreed to this industry and now for purely political reasons are pulling back from it. The facts that you are quoting regarding health issues are just made up.. Fuziah could say the world was flat and I guarantee her little mob would shout in agreement..Malaysia is not ready to be a foreign investment hub.. So foreign investors should avoid it… It reminds me of squabbling on a school yard.. Very amateurish.. But Malaysia is definitely responsible for compensation to Lynas if they kick them out. You mention polluting companies.. Look a Petronas.. (kick them out too.. oh no they;re Malaysian!!!) Look at all the fertilizer companies ..Kick them out too..?? If Malaysia does retain your view of things then it will be a 3rd world country… You should probably ramp up the tourist industry… No wait… People might have mud on their shoes so throw them out… Good luck..!!!

Anti-propaganda
5 Apr 2012 12.17am
Reply to  Ahmad

Repeat: No compensation for companies whose pollution poses a risk to public health. They should be investigated, heavily penalised if found guilty, and then shown the door.

No compromise on public health.

Ahmad
Ahmad
5 Apr 2012 2.14am

Ok, so by your own words “No compensation for companies whose pollution poses a risk to public health”…. So assuming that they never get to start up… Then how can they possibly pose a threat to anyone??…Logic no??? Time to open the purse then and give back the 600 million investment money.. Malaysia accepted the money so if Malaysia fails on it’s commitment then it should pay back what was invested in it… Now come one Anti-P you can’t argue with that…You can’t have it both ways…. What’s the plant going to be used for? A Go-Cart race track??

Kiyo Howell
Kiyo Howell
3 Apr 2012 9.44am

Ahmad

Actually from my understanding, the plant has now cost Lynas more than AUD600million,
the entire project has already poured more than RM2.5billion into the local economy and an additional RM300million investments into products to be used at Lynas’s refinery.

Adding to this, commitments from Seimens on a joint venture with Lynas to set-up a Rare Earth Magnet production facility and potential investments of other Rare Earth users (TV; mobile phones; monitors; green energy product; etc etc producers) a market which has an estimated value of over $US10 trillion.

even if Malaysia can only gain a small fraction of this market (mostly controled by China), the potential as a developing nation would be substantial.

The issue is, is this level of growth in the interests of the Malaysian public?

or is it pure speculation…

Wu
Wu
3 Apr 2012 8.02am

Lol wat a douche, carrying on with your logic, why would we allow any Malaysians into australia? There is always a potential chance that you people will infest local Aussies with your corruption and lack of … fortitude.

Kiyo Howell
Kiyo Howell
3 Apr 2012 7.16am

Hi Aliran, I can assure you, most Australians will not be laughing about this serious matter. Australia has a very long history of exporting raw elements around the globe under strict supervision and regulations set out by its government (state and federal) in the case of Lynas’s Mt Weld composit material, this is actually not “raw earth”, the “concentrate” has alreay undergone chemical processing that in my limited knowledge in chemical engineering suggests ‘No living organisms or bacteria” will remain once the procedures are complete and concentrates packed. the hypocracy about radiation levels are sprung from the fact Malaysia governs material that others ignor. Mt Weld concentrates contain so little amounts of NORM elements, most countries ignor its radioactivity. Australian transport regulations on NORM products such as “raw earth” is relatively strict, with a minimum threshold of 10bq/g to qualify as a radioactive substance. Thus Mt Welds concentrates do not require to be classified as ‘radioactive’ in accordance with the regulations set out by the government ministries. Mining activities of all types generally contain NORM, the concentration levels are somewhat higher in the deeper grounds meaning… Read more »

Ahmad
Ahmad
3 Apr 2012 2.21am

You know this whole procedure has been a sham. A company invests and builds a 250 million facility and is told at the 12th hour that ohhh… noo.. we’re not sure about it… I saw Rio decided to pull a massive smelting plant out of Malaysia… All I can say is get used to it.. Don’t expect to become a magnet for any form of foreign investment… Maybe that’s what is best for Malaysia… If you’re concerned about health issues… Ban smoking.. It’s probably the biggest killer.. But we all know that’s not going to happen… I’m so tired of listen to all this politicking ..And that’s what is is.. The reason Australia is paranoid about soil on shoes is because it’s an island.. Malaysia is not..

qwerty
qwerty
10 Apr 2012 5.04pm
Reply to  Ahmad

The whole American continent is an island too yet they process rare earth in China. Malaysia is not an island? Wow, so easily forget about east Malaysia which is part of an island. It is not whether it is island or not, it is how far it is from residential area and how much land there is. Malaysia has much higher population density than Australia. Please look up a map… Australia a whole continent has about the same population as Malaysia. If Singapore reclaim land to Johor shores, it would no longer be an island, but building a rare earth plant there will still affect the health of it’s citizens. It is not whether island or not, but how much space available. Australia has a large deswert area. I wonder what you learn in Form 3 Geography? Or are you a person who bought shares in Lynas?

Benny
Benny
2 Apr 2012 9.01pm

I’m perplexed why the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry is keeping so silent on the Lynas issue and has not yet issued a statement about such potential danger. The public deserves a clarification from the Malaysian agricultural authorities too. BUT TELL, ME WHICH MINISTRY IN MALAYSIA DARE TO OPPOSE WHAT THE PM WANTS TO DO?

Tony
Tony
2 Apr 2012 6.40pm

I don’t mean to be derogatory but the reason that the Authorities are not kicking up a fuss is because they may have taken 1 minute to check on the Lynas website and noted that the soil being imported will have gone through a concentration process whereby the is no way “living organisms, insects, fungi, and spores” will have survived this process.