Face-off over future of rare earth plant in Malaysia

Australian rare earth mining company Lynas' refinery in Gebeng industrial town, in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state, was opened in 2012 despite loud criticisms and street marches by environmentalists and local residents.
Australian rare earth mining company Lynas' refinery in Gebeng industrial town, in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state, was opened in 2012 despite loud criticisms and street marches by environmentalists and local residents.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KL tells Aussie firm to export its 'radioactive' waste or risk losing its operating licence

A tussle is heating up in Malaysia between the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and Australia's rare earth mining company Lynas Corp over whether the firm's RM3.3 billion (S$1.1 billion) refinery should remain open in eastern Pahang state, with claims that the site has "hills" of radioactive waste material.

The fight entangles Pahang residents, environmentalists, Lynas' 1,000 employees (400 on contract) and its management, and several PH Pahang lawmakers who said they are worried about "radioactive" harm brought by the plant.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'Face-off over future of rare earth plant in Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe