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Malaysia orders Australian miner to ship out waste

Published on Dec 11, 2012 1:09 PM
The Lynas factory in Gebeng, 270km east of Kuala Lumpur, seen in this April 19, 2012 file photograph. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia has ordered Australian miner Lynas to ship out waste from its new rare earths plant following protests from environment groups and residents worried about radioactive residue.

Lynas began processing rare earths - used in anything from missiles to mobile phones - at the US$800 million (S$978 million) plant in eastern Pahang state last month after a delay of more than a year due to opposition over health fears.

But four cabinet ministers - covering trade, science, natural resources and health - said in a joint statement late on Monday that a temporary licence granted to Lynas required it to remove "all the residue" from the plant out of Malaysia.

"The obligation imposed on Lynas in this matter is very clear. The government will not compromise the health and safety of the people and the environment in dealing with the issue of Lynas," they said.

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