Friday, 16 August 2019

https://www.facebook.com/events/2441841389192202/

MEDIA RELEASE | Friday 16 August 2019

NGOs Ask Australia to Suspend Lynas’
Rare Earth Export to its Malaysian Plant

AUSTRALIA | Yesterday, Australian rare earth producer Lynas Corporation has been granted conditional six-month licence extension by the Malaysian Government. Environmental and human rights non-government organisations in Australia have joined their counterparts in Malaysia in expressing grave concerns at this decision.

Lynas owns and operates a rare earth mine in Western Australia and ships lanthanide concentrate from its Mount Weld mine to Malaysia. The concentrate is processed at its controversial secondary processing plant to extract rare earth oxides and carbonates for its Japanese and Chinese customers. This process leaves behind an enormous amount of toxic waste laced with thorium, uranium, heavy metals and other chemicals.

Friends of the Earth Australia, AID/WATCH, together with Australian chapters of the BERSIH Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections in Malaysia and Melbourne-based Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) have responded to a petition that has gained momentum. The petition demands that Australia suspends Lynas’ rare earth export to Malaysia because Lynas has no safe permanent disposal facility for its radioactive waste even though the secondary plant has been operating since 2012.

Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Australia commented, “In the seven years of production in Malaysia, Lynas has generated nearly 600,000 tonnes of radioactive waste[1] with nowhere safe to store. Currently, this waste is stacked up in open dams in a low-lying peat mangrove area prone to floods and peat fires.”[2]

"This is sub-standard radioactive waste management. Australia must not allow this kind of unsafe accumulation of toxic radioactive waste in Malaysia by Lynas.”

For decades, Australian mining companies have been particularly notorious in causing catastrophic environmental problems in developing countries.[3] Australian law has yet to include conditions whereby the operations of Australian companies overseas should adhere to the same standard as they would be required to do in their home country.

Natalie Lowrey, Coordinator of AID/WATCH stated, “We are disappointed that the Malaysian Government has not suspended Lynas’ operations even though it has violated its licence conditions and has yet to locate a site or a definite plan for its radioactive waste. There is still no end in sight as to how Lynas would safely dispose of its radioactive waste.”

“We are particularly concerned that the Australian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur, Andrew Goledzinowski, has gone beyond his diplomatic duty to explicitly support Lynas through his media statements in Malaysia.[4] He seems oblivious to the fact that Western Australia has expressed a preference for Lynas to process its rare earth ore in WA itself, where expertise and infrastructure are available, and regulations are more strictly enforced as compared with a debt-ridden struggling democracy like Malaysia.” remarked Ms Lowrey.

Last year, Malaysian voters brought a change of government that ended over 60 years of political Pakatan Harapan Coalition Government following the world-wide 1MDB corruption scandal linked to the former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Voters’ discontent with the Najib Government also included public anger over its approval for the Lynas rare earth project in 2012.

Ms Lowrey continued: “Lynas has been a target of strong and sustained protest since 2011 when it was still under construction in Malaysia, and this has included years of international solidarity.”[5]

“Lynas has failed to deliver a a detailed environmental impact assessment, has no proper public consultation or a clear radioactive waste disposal site and plan. Simply put, Lynas has never had a social licence to operate - this would never be allowed here in Australia.” She continued.

Bersih Sydney spokesman Mr William de Cruz said: "Australia’s track record in protecting its own environment is abysmal. But it’s ability to turn a blind eye to how Australian companies are wreaking environmental havoc in poor countries is shocking."

Ms Lowrey added: “We are also concerned that both the Australian federal government and the Western Australian state government have rejected out-of-hand accepting Lynas’ radioactive waste back into Australia, even though the rare earth ores were mined and exported from WA. Malaysia has neither the capacity nor the climatic condition and landscape to house a Permanent Disposable Facility for the radioactive waste, with thorium, which has a half-life of 14 billion years!”

For more information:

Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Australia
jim.green@foe.org.au, +61 417 318 368


Natalie Lowrey, AID/WATCH

natalie.lowrey@gmail.com, +61 421 226 200



William de Cruz, Bersih Sydney +61 425 237 429




[1] ‘Lynas hit by fresh allegations of 'illegal' waste storage’, Sydney Morning Herald, April 19, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/lynas-hit-by-fresh-allegations-of-illegal-waste-storage-20190419-p51fmn.html

[2] ‘Lynas must remove its radioactive wastes from Malaysia’, Malaysiakini, June 14, 2019, https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/479589

[3] Both Australian-owned BHP and Rio Tinto have been caused catastrophic environmental and human rights disasters at their mines in Papua New Guinea. BHP Ok Tedi mine, Western Province, PNG: ‘OK Tedi Mining blamed for Health epidemic in Western Province’, EMTV, November 18, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I00sdNaMIG8; 'Toxic time bomb' awaits Ok Tedi, ABC Science, September 5, 2008, https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/09/05/2356711.htm; and Rio Tinto’s Paguna mine in Bougainville that resulted in brutal Civil War from 1989-1997 which claimed the lives of up to 20 000 people, and tens of thousands more were displaced: ‘Rio Tinto walks away from environmental responsibility for Bougainville’s Panguna mine’, Mongabay, April 6, 2017. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/04/rio-tinto-walks-away-from-environmental-responsibility-for-bougainvilles-panguna-mine/; ‘Rio Tinto's billion-dollar mess: 'unprincipled, shameful and evil'’, Sydney Morning Herald, August 19, 2016.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/billiondollar-mess-a-major-disaster-the-people-do-not-deserve-to-have-20160817-gquzli.html

[4] ‘Australian high commissioner should not be Lynas' mouthpiece’, Letter from Wong Tack, MP for Bentong in Malaysia, Malaysiakini, May 29, 2019. https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/477859;

[5] ‘Arrests at Malaysian Rare Earths Refinery Protests’, The Diplomat, June 27, 2014. https://thediplomat.com/2014/06/arrests-at-malaysian-rare-earths-refinery-protests/; ‘Malaysia police recommend charges meaning Australian faces 2 years' jail’, The Guardian, June 26, 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/malaysia-police-confirm-two-years-jail-looms-for-australian-activist; ‘Rare earths and our insatiable appetite for digital memory’, The Conversation, November 29, 2013. https://theconversation.com/rare-earths-and-our-insatiable-appetite-for-digital-memory-20938; Lynas plant on line, protests to continue, Sydney Morning Herald, December 1 2012, https://www.smh.com.au/business/lynas-plant-on-line-protests-to-continue-20121130-2amf0.html

Press statement

15th August 2019

Call to Action Against Pakatan Harapan’s Toxic U-turn on Lynas

Lynas is Tun’s Second Toxic Legacy for Malaysia


SMSL is appalled although not at all surprised by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government’s betrayal by renewing Lynas’ operating licence. The Australian rare earth producer has failed to comply with its licence conditions and failed to comply with MESTECC’s decisions from last December.

Mr Tan expressed his disappointment, “Allowing Lynas to continue operating and generating more radioactive waste is a serious betrayal of Rakyat’s trust of the PH Government. This is a mega toxic U-turn from the pre-GE14 PH Manifesto. We shall burn it in public come Sunday!”

Responding to the announcement by AELB that Lynas’ license has been extended for another six months, SMSL Chairman, Mr Tan Bun Tee called on all concerned Malaysians to gather at Taman Gelora in Kuantan for a peaceful protest action from 7.00 to 10.00am.

“For eight years now, SMSL and supporters from all over Malaysia and overseas have been campaigning to stop the generation of toxic radioactive waste in Malaysia by Lynas. Cabinet’s decision works against Malaysia’s national interests. Those conditions were in the temporary operating licence since 2012. Lynas has never bothered to comply with them so what is the point?” He asked.

AELB has made the announcement that Lynas’ operating license has been extended for six months on conditions that a clear permanent disposal facility (PDF) plan be presented, and that the cracking and leaching processes that separates radionuclides from Lynas’ ore that leave radioactive waste behind be relocated away from Malaysia within 4 years from today.

“Lynas has already generated close to 600,000 tonnes of thorium waste to date. Lynas has essentially been given a free-hand to continue to generate even MORE toxic radioactive waste in Malaysia to pollute and contaminate our environment.” Legal Adviser for SMSL, Mr Hon Kai Ping retorted.

“We are also alarmed by the massive increase in the amount of WLP waste generated in less than a year – 130,000 tonnes, TWICE as much as the 64,000 tonnes per year approved in Lynas’ original blueprints. How can this be legal?” He added.

Although AELB has specified that the PDF must be of international standard, Malaysia’s weak regulatory regime and culture, tropical rainstorms that often lead to landslides and soil erosion present safety, reliability and technical challenges for any mega-physical structure such as a PDF. The massive amount of rainfalls alone would render Malaysia unsuitable for a radioactive PDF especially when Lynas’ radioactive thorium and uranium in Lynas’ waste have half-lives extending to billions of years – which means that they must not be left to expose to any living things especially humans. Most radioactive waste dumps are in dry desert environment in remote areas for this reason.

“We would like to remind the Government that any proposal for PDF must go through the detailed environmental impact assessment process, including efforts to allow for feedback and engagement with the public, especially for those living close to its proposed site.” Mr Hon said.

Transparency is a PH manifesto and effective public engagement has been emphasised by the IAEA in its assessment of Lynas previously.

“To ensure that Malaysia has a safe environment for now and for the future, we will continue to protest and seek support from international allies to call Lynas out as a dirty rare earth supplier to counter its greenwashing and marketing spin. We will also take legal actions against Lynas and the PH Government until Lynas’ toxic radioactive waste is removed from Malaysia.”Concluded Mr Tan.

For further comments, please contact:

· Mr Tan Bun Teet - Hp: +60 179 730 576

· Mr Hon Kai Ping - +60 112 544 7356

Thursday, 8 August 2019



https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevR_xxRof_tVq4cd9IKRr89SZ8EzJFEyydTXAmmu2F23SyVQ/viewform


LAPORAN REAKSI AM (LRA) KHAS ONLINE: LANJUT ATAU TIDAK PERMIT OPERASI LYNAS CORPLynas Corporation Ltd Malaysia (Lynas Corp)/ Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamps) adalah sebuah kilang pengeluaran nadir bumi yang terletak di Gebeng, Kuantan, Pahang. Loji ini telah beroperasi sejak 2012 dengan status “perintis strategik” yang membolehkan syarikat itu menikmati pengecualian cukai selama 12 tahun.

Lynas Corp merupakan sebuah syarikat Australia yang diberikan kelulusan pada Januari 2008 untuk mendirikan sebuah kilang di Pahang, telah melabur sebanyak RM3 bilion selain RM500 juta dibelanjakan bagi pelbagai tujuan yang memberi manfaat ekonomi negara. Sejak beroperasi, Lynas telah menyediakan peluang pekerjaan kepada kira-kira 700 penduduk tempatan dalam pelbagai bidang.

Lynas Corp, pengilang nadir bumi Australia kini berada di landasan untuk memperbaharui lesen operasinya di Malaysia yang berakhir pada 2 September ini, berdepan dengan isu perundangan dan beberapa pertikaian dengan Kerajaan Malaysia berhubung pelupusan sisa radioaktif paras rendah yang dihasilkan oleh loji pemprosesannya di Malaysia.

Ini berikutan kerajaan masih menunggu cadangan Lynas Corp dalam mengendalikan nadir buminya sebelum pembaharuan lesen berkenaan yang akan diputuskan oleh Kabinet serta diumumkan pada 15 Ogos ini.

Kajian ini dilaksanakan bagi mendapatkan reaksi masyarakat di daerah Kuantan; Bentong; Pekan; Maran; di Pahang dan Kemaman di Terengganu mengenai pelanjutan permit operasi Lynas Corp.
Tempoh Kajian: 08 - 13 Ogos 2019



Friday, 2 August 2019

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/01/dr-m-govt-still-waiting-for-lynas-proposal-on-disposal-of-waste


Dr M: Govt still waiting for Lynas proposal on disposal of waste

Nation

Thursday, 01 Aug 2019 11:45 AM MYT

By MAZWIN NIK ANIS
    
PUTRAJAYA: The government is still waiting for Lynas Corp to present its proposal on how it plans to deal with the rare earth processing waste, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"We are waiting for them to tell us how they are going to do that, whether they find a place and whether they can dispose of the waste or not, " he said to reporters on Thursday (Aug 1).

According to a news report which cited an unamed government official, the Cabinet discussed the viability of Lynas building a permanent disposal facility in the country and would be announcing its decision next month ahead of the rare earth firm's licence expiry date.

However, Bentong MP Wong Tack said he doubted the veracity of the news report which claimed the government was likely to drop its requirement for Lynas Corp to remove its rare earth processing waste from Malaysia.
https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-and-the-cabinet-members-of-malaysia-malaysians-do-not-want-lynas-toxic-radioactive-legacy/exp/cl_/bandit-starter_cl_share_content_en-gb/v2/989212247?recruiter=989212247&recruited_by_id=9d4b8f00-b4f6-11e9-b47f-030c724a6619&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_p1_view&utm_content=bandit-starter_cl_share_content_en-gb%3Av2


Malaysia Should not be Left with Lynas’ Toxic Radioactive Waste 
for the sake of Foreign Direct Investment 

We, the undersigned civil society groups and Rakyat are deeply concerned that Malaysia is creating a second cancer-causing radioactive toxic legacy by Australia’s Lynas Corporation – at least 100 times bigger than that from Mitsubishi’s Asian Rare Earth in Bukit Merah. This is the second Japanese sponsored toxic legacy for Malaysia, facilitated by the ousted kleptocratic Najib Government, with the blessing of our Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet.

We reiterate our strong position and appeal in our earlier memorandum to Tun and his Cabinet on Lynas dated 10th June 2019 to shut down Lynas immediately. Lynas is a junior mining company with a weak financial position due mainly to its predominantly low-value light rare earth mineral ore. Lynas has neither the intention nor financial means to store its toxic radioactive waste in a safe permanent disposal facility (PDF) away from its current flood and fire-prone peat mangrove swamp environment. Lynas has a massive debt burden made light only through the Japanese generous low-interest loan extension.

In pursue of profit, Lynas exploits Malaysia by playing politics and speculating on rare earth, backed by Japan due to the latter’s torrid relationship with China, its traditional rare earth supplier. For that, Malaysians are expected to endure its environmental pollution and public health hazards amounting to an increased risk of getting cancer for as long as its toxic radioactive waste remains in the country.
Lynas’ waste from the water-leached purification stream are contaminated with radionuclides at 1952ppm of long-live thorium and 29ppm of uranium respectively; toxic heavy metals – 490ppm lead, 111ppm nickel, 795 ppm chromium, 8ppm cadmium and 2890ppm manganese. Other hazardous contaminants are 13 ppm arsenic, mercury and copious amount of chemicals which can mobilise the radionuclides and heavy metals into the surrounding land and waters in times of floods and heavy rainfall due to Lynas’ inadequate waste storage facility. Data from Lynas’ own monitoring stations have already showed serious contamination by lead, nickel, chromium and mercury since 2015. Lynas did not test for contamination by radionuclides even though IAEA has stressed the importance of doing that.

These contaminants are toxic substances that will bio-accumulate over a lifetime and pollute the environment into the future to cause harms in Malaysia. Radionuclides in living cells has the capability to pass onto future generations. Reputable health agencies including World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have warned against these toxic substances as they can cause cancer and/or fatal and chronic health problems when exposed in large enough quantity over time. The burden of costly legacy site clean-up and acute health care will unfairly fall onto Malaysians.

Worse, Malaysia will also bear the tarnished reputation as a convenient toxic waste dumping ground. As Lynas’ massive piles of wastes continue to rise into the otherwise tranquil and beautiful coastal skyline, people will be reminded of Najib’s poisoned chalice, which Tun’s and PH’s took on to leave a toxic legacy forever. For that, Lynas has enjoyed a 12-year tax holiday granted by Najib’s Government blessed by the current PH regime despite the country’s heavy debt burdens and spiralling toxic pollution problems through decades of neglect and lax environmental law enforcement.

Malaysians have been bullied by the Australian High Commissioner and Lynas; and betrayed by our own Government. Lynas has violated its licence conditions and failed to firstly present a safe permanent disposal location and plan; and now reneged on its own undertakings made in 2012 to remove its radioactive and scheduled waste. If we call businesses that have brought in foreign rubbish into Malaysia traitors, then our regulators and those ministers who have backed Lynas instead of fulfilling their duty of care to uphold the law to enforce licence conditions on Lynas are no different.

This systemic and systematic failures of our Government have now continued despite the historical change of Government last May.

Once again, we appeal and call on the Pakatan Harapan Government to:

· enforce the law and uphold MESTECC’s decisions from December 2018 by suspending Lynas’ waste storage licences immediately to prevent further generation of toxic radioactive waste since Australia has refused to accept this waste and Lynas has yet to manage its scheduled waste in accordance with Malaysian law. Lynas’ current inadequate waste storage facility at the back of its rare earth plant are contaminating the environment and waterways. It is inappropriately located in a low-lying peat mangrove swamp close to fishing communities and tourist resorts. This is unsafe and is against established international standards for radiation safety and protection;

· hold Lynas accountable for its massive radioactive waste problems and groundwater contamination it has caused in Malaysia by requiring Lynas to clean up the contamination and to prevent further environmental pollution in the interest of public health;

· independently carry out a full and comprehensive health risk assessment study of the implication of Malaysia ending up with the total quantity of Lynas’ wastes, especially its toxic thorium waste, immediately and before any further decision on licence renewal is made since this study should have been done even before Lynas is given its construction permit back in 2009;

· to better understand the reputational risk to our agricultural produce from potential contamination of rare earth and other toxic elements;

· to study legacy and contamination site clean-up costs to ensure that Lynas bear that costs up-front; and

· carry out a full audit of Lynas’ financial viability in meeting its long-term waste management obligations and responsibilities.

We urge the Australian Government, especially the Australian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur to heed the facts that for decades, Malaysians have invested billions in Australia through property, businesses and sending hundreds of thousands of our best students to further their education in Australia. Many have stayed in Australia to contribute positively to the Australian economy and industries. Malaysians have held Australia in high regard and yet the Australian High Commissioner continues to back Lynas to undermine efforts in Malaysia to push for law enforcement to improve our environmental governance, failing to heed its own Western Australian Government’s preference for Lynas to process its ore locally.

We call on the Australian Government to:

· cease exerting diplomatic pressure on Malaysia to accept Lynas’ radioactive toxic waste to pursue rare earth geopolitical advantages;

· withhold Lynas’ lanthanide concentrate export to Malaysia until Lynas has removed its WLP waste from Malaysia in accordance with its own undertakings in 2012 and managed its scheduled waste within Malaysian regulations.

· compel ASIC to enforce its ASX Corporate Governance Principles requiring corporations to act ethically and responsibly by requiring that Lynas adhere to its licence conditions and undertakings in the interest of Malaysian health and well being regardless of weaknesses of technical capability and law enforcement by the Malaysian Government.

We would like to remind the High Commissioner of the message from a 2011 letter by then Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd who stated that “The Australian Government expects Australian companies to operate to high environmental and safety standards in their overseas operations as they would in Australia.” Yet Lynas has reneged on its obligations and responsibility to abide by the IAEA recommendations and its licence conditions, and to act responsibly in accordance with Malaysian regulations.
We also appeal and call on the Japanese Government to:

· compel Lynas to adhere to its undertakings to ensure that its toxic radioactive waste is removed from Malaysia, away from the low-lying peat mangrove and human settlement where it is stored at present;

· refrain from putting diplomatic pressure on Malaysia to accept Lynas' toxic radioactive waste irrespective of the Samurai bond extended by Japan to Malaysia to meet Malaysia’s budget expenses. The loan will be repaid through the hard work of Malaysian, in accordance with the loan terms. Our country and our people should not be made scapegoats of Japan’s geopolitical conflict with China;

· recognise that for as long as Lynas’ radioactive waste remains in Malaysia; its rare earth supply chain is tainted with no social licence to operate and cannot be considered green and clean. That will have reputational implication for any Japanese product made with Lynas’ rare earth elements, especially when China has since 2011 imposed stringent legal limits on its rare earth industry which Lynas would not be able to meet if it uses the same poor standard as it has done here.

Using geopolitical pressure to force Malaysia to accept Lynas’ radioactive waste for the private profit of an Australian company is immoral and politically corrupt. It is essentially subjecting citizens of a debt-ridden developing country to the double injustice of the more severe impact of climate change on the one hand, and the hazards from the processing of rare earth minerals to feed the rising demand for low-emission technologies for the benefits of advanced industrialised nations that are largely responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that have contributed to the problem of climate change in the first place.

Finally, we call on civil society the world over and concerned individuals to join us in our struggle for democratic governance, for a clean and safe future for Malaysia and to genuinely and effectively address climate change by:

· holding Australia’s Lynas Corporation accountable for its radioactive waste to prevent a second toxic legacy for Malaysia;

· expose Lynas for its dirty rare earth supply chains through transferring the hazardous mid-stream processing operations to Malaysia;

· ensuring that technical solutions for tackling climate change do not lead to developing countries copping double climate injustice such as that resulting from Lynas; and

· calling on UN agencies especially UNFCCC to ensure that low-emission technological solutions proposed for climate change mitigation and adaptation purposes have clean and green supply chains that do not lead to human rights violations or toxic legacy in poor developing countries.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/trade-ware-affects-china-s-demand-for-lynas-rare-earth-20190729-p52bof.html?fbclid=IwAR3hGPy2ZpF_a2e8_fs37O0JGwqT-phqFlPXGcgz7UGfzyyKbikxlxvoDE4#comments
 
Trade tensions crimp China's demand for Lynas' rare earths


By Colin Kruger
July 29, 2019 — 9.47am

Rare earth producer Lynas Corp's quarterly sales revenue and production have slipped, with recent trade tensions between Beijing and Washington curtailing demand for its ore in China as the car market there slows.

"The [rare earths] market, despite the trade tensions ... is quite soft. This is particularly [because] of the economic situation in China," she said.


Lynas sales were hit by a lower average selling price for neodymium praseodymium (NdPr), which is used to make permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.Credit:Bloomberg

Lynas shares closed 6¢ lower at $2.60 on Monday.

Lynas reported a 4.6 per cent fall in revenue due to softer prices for its product in the June quarter, during which the company focused its sales on strategic customers outside China.


Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze said the result partially reflected the fact that the company could afford to make choices and not just maximise production and sell its rare earths at whatever price was on offer.

Related Article


Waste
More protests in Malaysia but no clarity as Lynas shutdown approaches


But China was the key driver of the result, with trade tensions slowing the growth of the country's auto market.

"There is real concern there about the effect of the trade war," she said.

Lynas, the largest rare earths producer in the world outside China, said it was stockpiling production of its rare earth ores for strategic customers, at a time when markets are concerned that Beijing may use the minerals as a weapon in its trade war with the United States.


US President Donald Trump last year signed a policy bill banning the purchase from China, which controls 80 per cent of the world's rare earth supply, of rare earth magnets for military use in the 2019 fiscal year.

Related Article


Trade wars
Lynas soars as China gears up to weaponise rare earths in trade war


Lynas' sales revenue for the June quarter was $87.5 million, lower than the $91.7 million it earned for the same period last year, the company said in a statement.

Lynas sales were hit by a lower average selling price for neodymium praseodymium (NdPr), which is used to make permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Quarterly production of NdPr reached 1505 tonnes, compared with 1447 tonnes a year ago.


The decision to limit sales led to a small inventory build, Lynas said. End of quarter inventory of NdPr products was 323 tonnes.

The miner is in dispute with Malaysia over the removal of low-level radioactive waste produced by its processing plant in the country, but said it was confident its operating licence would be renewed before a September 2 deadline.


There is real concern there about the effect of the trade war.Amanda Lacaze

Ms Lacaze said the fact the government had indicated it would make a decision on the issue by mid August, just weeks before the deadline that could close its operations in Malaysia.

"This is not unusual," Ms Lacaze said of the tight deadline.

She expects the government decision to include clarity on the future of its waste in Malaysia which the company plans to either recycle or store in a permanent disposal facility (PDF).

with Reuters

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Malaysia Should not be Left with Lynas’ Toxic Radioactive Waste
for the sake of Foreign Direct Investment 



We, the undersigned civil society groups are deeply concerned that Malaysia is creating a second cancer-causing radioactive toxic legacy by Australia’s Lynas Corporation – at least 100 times bigger than that from Mitsubishi’s Asian Rare Earth in Bukit Merah. This is the second Japanese sponsored toxic legacy for Malaysia, facilitated by the ousted kleptocratic Najib Government, with the blessing of our Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet.

We reiterate our strong position and appeal in our earlier memorandum to Tun and his Cabinet on Lynas dated 10th June 2019 to shut down Lynas immediately. Lynas is a single project junior mining company with a weak financial position due mainly to its predominantly low-value light rare earth mineral ore. Lynas has neither the intention nor financial means to store its toxic radioactive waste in a safe permanent disposal facility (PDF) away from its current flood and fire-prone peat mangrove swamp environment. Lynas has a massive debt burden made light only through the Japanese generous low-interest loan extension.

In pursue of profit, Lynas exploits Malaysia by playing politics and speculating on rare earth, backed by Japan due to the latter’s torrid relationship with China, its traditional rare earth supplier. For that, Malaysians are expected to endure its environmental pollution and public health hazards amounting to an increased risk of getting cancer for as long as its toxic radioactive waste remains in the country.
Lynas’ waste from the water-leached purification stream are contaminated with radionuclides at 1952ppm of long-live thorium and 29ppm of uranium respectively[1]; toxic heavy metals – 490ppm lead, 111ppm nickel, 795 ppm chromium, 8ppm cadmium and 2890ppm manganese[2]. Other hazardous contaminants are 13 ppm arsenic, mercury and copious amount of chemicals which can mobilise the radionuclides and heavy metals into the surrounding land and waters in times of floods due to Lynas’ inadequate waste storage facility.[3] Data from Lynas’ own monitoring stations have already showed serious contamination by lead, nickel, chromium and mercury since 2015. Lynas did not test for contamination by radionuclides even though IAEA has stressed the importance of doing that.

These are toxic substances that will bio-accumulate over a lifetime and contaminate the environment into the future to cause harms in Malaysia. Reputable health agencies including World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have warned against these toxic substances as they can cause cancer and/or fatal and chronic health problems when exposed in large enough quantity. The burden of costly legacy site clean-up and acute health care will unfairly fall onto Malaysians.

Worse, Malaysia will also bear the reputation as a convenient toxic waste dumping ground. As Lynas’ massive piles of wastes continue to rise into the otherwise tranquil and beautiful coastal skyline, people will be reminded of Tun’s and PH’s toxic legacy forever. For that, Lynas has enjoyed a 12-year tax holiday granted by the previous Najib Government blessed by the current PH regime despite the country’s heavy debt burdens and spiralling toxic pollution problems through decades of neglect and lax environmental law enforcement.

Malaysians have been bullied by the Australian High Commissioner and Lynas; and betrayed by our own Government. Lynas has violated its licence conditions and failed to firstly present a safe permanent disposal location and plan; and now reneged on its own undertakings made in 2012 to remove its radioactive and scheduled waste. If we call businesses that have brought in foreign rubbish into Malaysia traitors, then our regulators and those ministers who have backed Lynas instead of fulfilling their duty of care to uphold the law to enforce licence conditions on Lynas are no different. This systemic and systematic failures of our Government have now continued despite the historical change of Government last May.
Once again, we appeal and call on the Pakatan Harapan Government to:

· enforce the law and uphold MESTECC’s decisions from December 2018 by suspending Lynas’ waste storage licences immediately to prevent further generation of toxic radioactive waste since Australia has refused to accept this waste and Lynas has yet to manage its scheduled waste in accordance with Malaysian law. Lynas’ current inadequate waste storage facility at the back of its rare earth plant are contaminating the environment and waterways. It is inappropriately located in a low-lying peat mangrove swamp close to fishing communities and tourist resorts. This is unsafe and is against established international standards for radiation safety and protection;

· hold Lynas accountable for its massive radioactive waste problems and groundwater contamination it has caused in Malaysia by requiring Lynas to clean up the contamination and to prevent further environmental pollution in the interest of public health;

· independently carry out a full and comprehensive health risk assessment study of the implication of Malaysia ending up with the total quantity of Lynas’ wastes, especially its toxic thorium waste, immediately and before any further decision on licence renewal is made since this study should have been done even before Lynas is given its construction permit;

· to better understand the reputational risk to our agricultural produce from potential contamination of rare earth and other toxic elements;

· to study legacy and contamination site clean-up costs to ensure that Lynas bear that costs up-front; and

· carry out a full audit of Lynas’ financial viability in meeting its long-term waste management obligations and responsibilities.

We urge the Australian Government, especially the Australian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur to heed the facts that for decades, Malaysians have invested billions in Australia through property, businesses and sending hundreds of thousands of our best students to further their education in Australia. Many have stayed in Australia to contribute positively to the Australian economy and development. Malaysians have held Australia in high regard and yet the Australian High Commissioner continues to back Lynas to undermine efforts in Malaysia to push for law enforcement to improve our environmental governance when its own Western Australian Government has preferred Lynas to process its ore locally.

We call on the Australian Government to:

· cease exerting diplomatic pressure on Malaysia to accept Lynas’ radioactive toxic waste to pursue rare earth geopolitical advantages;

· withhold Lynas’ lanthanide concentrate export to Malaysia until Lynas has removed its WLP waste from Malaysia in accordance with its own undertakings in 2012 and managed its scheduled waste within Malaysian regulations.

· compel ASIC to enforce its ASX Corporate Governance Principles requiring corporations to act ethically and responsibly by requiring that Lynas adhere to its licence conditions and undertakings in the interest of Malaysian health and well being regardless of weaknesses of law enforcement by the Malaysian Government.

We would like to remind the High Commissioner of the message from a 2011 letter by then Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd who stated that “The Australian Government expects Australian companies to operate to high environmental and safety standards in their overseas operations as they would in Australia.” Yet Lynas has been contaminating groundwater since 2015 in accordance with its own ground monitoring data and reneged on its obligations and responsibility to abide by the IAEA recommendations and its licence conditions.
We also appeal and call on the Japanese Government to:

· compel Lynas to adhere to its undertakings to ensure that its toxic radioactive waste is removed from Malaysia, away from the low-lying peat mangrove and human settlement where it is stored at present;

· refrain from putting diplomatic pressure on Malaysia to accept Lynas' toxic radioactive waste irrespective of the Samurai bond extended b2y Japan to Malaysia to meet Malaysia’s budget expenses. The loan will be repaid through the hard work of Malaysian, in accordance with the loan terms. Our country and our people should not be made scapegoats of Japan’s geopolitical conflict with China;

· recognise that for as long as Lynas’ radioactive waste remains in Malaysia; its rare earth supply chain is tainted with no social licence to operate and cannot be considered green and clean. That will have reputational implication for any Japanese product made with Lynas’ rare earth elements, especially when China has since 2011 imposed stringent legal limits on its rare earth industry which Lynas would not be able to meet if it uses the same poor standard in Malaysia.

Using geopolitical pressure to force Malaysia to accept Lynas’ ra2dioactive waste for the private profit of an Australian company is immoral and politically corrupt. It is essentially subjecting citizens of a debt-ridden developing country to the double injustice of the severe impact of climate change on the one hand, and the hazards from the processing of rare earth minerals to feed the rising demand for low-emission technologies for the benefits of advanced industrialised nations that are largely responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that have contributed to the problem of climate change in the first place.

Finally, we call on civil society the world over and concerned individuals to join us in our struggle for democratic governance and for a clean and safe future for Malaysia by:

· holding Australia’s Lynas Corporation accountable for its radioactive waste to prevent a second toxic legacy for Malaysia;

· expose Lynas for its dirty rare earth supply chains through transferring its hazardous mid-stream processing operations to Malaysia;

· ensuring that technical solutions for tackling climate change do not lead to developing countries copping double climate injustice such as that resulting from Lynas; and

· calling on UN agencies especially UNFCCC to ensure that low-emission technological solutions proposed for climate change mitigation and adaptation purposes have clean and green supply chains that do not lead to human rights violations

Signed and Endorsed by:





[1] Radionuclide concentration has been verified by the UKM study https://aip.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/1.4866110


[2] Concentration of heavy metals and arsenic is sourced from Table 1 of Lynas’ own Safety Case Analysis by Environ in 2011


[3] http://www.ukm.my/mjas/v22_n6/pdf/NurShahidah_22_6_6.pdf
LIST OF ENDORSERS

1. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)

2. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)

3. Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP)

4. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

5. Bersih 2.0

6. Malaysian Proressives in Australia (MPOZ)

7. Malaysia Nature Society Pahang

8. Himpunan Hijau

9. Gelombang Hijau

10. Greenpeace Malaysia

11. Agora Society Malaysia

12. Baramkini

13. North South Initiative

14. Citizens' Health Initiative

15. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

16. Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur (SKL)

17. Young Malaysian Movement

18. Pertubuhan Komuniti Harap Kuantan

19. Persatuan Kebajikan Kemajuan Kampung Batu Hitam Kuantan Pahang

20. Otai Reformasi

21. KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

22. Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM)

23. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas Segamat (SMSL Segamat)

24. Food Security and Sovereignty Forum Malaysia

25. Parti Sosialis Malaysia

26. Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan

27. Pertubuhan Gabungan Persatuan Cina Melaka

28. Persatuan Pukat Tunda Kuantan

29. Persatuan Prihatin Komuniti Pahang

30. Persatuan Amal dan Kasih Pahang

31. Pertubuhan Komuniti Semambu Kuantan

32. Persatuan I-Usaha Pahang

33. Persatuan Cerita Kuantan Pahang

34. Persatuan Prihatin Sungai Karang Pahang

35. Pertubuhan Kuantan Prihatin Negeri Pahang

36. Gabungan Persatuan-persatuan Tiong Hua

37. Pertubuhuan Kebajikan Kaum Hindu Daerah Kuantan

38. Kuantan Vipassana Meditation Association

39. Geha Bodhi Care Centre

40. Wen Chang Pahang Hainan Association

41. Persatuan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Kempadang Kuantan

42. Kelab Sukan Rekreasi Kempedang Kuantan

43. Persatuan Prihatin Kuantan Timur

44. Persatuan Penduduk Taman Tanah Putih Baru Kuantan

45. Persatuan Kebudayaan Jing Wu Kuantan

46. Persatuan Prihatin Taman Impian Kuantan Pahang

47. Persatuan Eng Choon Kuantan

48. The Chinese Physicial & Druggists Association

49. Persatuan Perikanan Kuantan

50. Persatuan Bas Sekolah Daerah Kuantan

51. Persatuan Pembinaan Kuantan

52. Persatuan Penganut Dewa Xian Fa Shi Gong Kuantan

53. Persatuan Penyokong-penyokong Berhala Na Ca San Tai Chee Kuantan

54. Persatuan Penganut Taoisma Long Sheng Gong Kuantan Pahang

55. Pertubuhan Pencinta Muzik Kuantan Pahang

56. Persatuan Transformasi Wanita Milenium Pahang

57. Pertubuhan Aspirasi Pemimpin Muda Kuantan

58. Pertubuhan Warisan Anak Pahang

59. Persatuan Bakti Teguh Kuantan Pahang

60. Persatuan Nam Ann Kuantan

61. Persatuan Penyembelih-penyembelih dan Penjual Daging Kuantan

62. Persatuan Memperbaiki Akhlak Che Kuan Hor

63. Persatuan Penduduk IM 21

64. Persatuan Penganut Buddha Tyuk Hi Kung

65. Persatuan Kesenian Opera Cina Kuantan , Pahang

66. Persatuan Hokkien Kuantan

67. Persatuan Kwong Siew Kuantan

68. Persatuan Hakka Kuantan

69. Persatuan Foochow Pahang

70. Persatuan Fui Ciu Kuantan

71. Kelab Karete Pelindung

72. Persatuan Iban Marudi, Baram Sarawak(PIMB)

73. Persatuan penduduk Kampung Long Luyim, Sg.Pelutan Baram(PPKLLSPB)

74. Persatuan Penduduk Rumah Sengok Sg Binyok Pandan Sebauh Bintulu (PPRSBPSB)

75. Persatuan Penduduk Kampung Long Miri Baram (PPKLMB)

76. Persatuan Penduduk Kampung Sg Senga Sebauh Bintulu Sarawak (PPKSS)

77. Persatuan Penduduk Sungai Buri Bakong Marudi (PPSBBM)

78. Persatuan Penduduk kampung Long Pilah Telang Usan Miri (PPKLPTUM)

79. Persatuan Penduduk Kampung Long Tepen, Pelutan Baram(PPKLTPB)

80. Persatuan Penduduk Kampung long Daloh Sg Patah Baram (PPKLDSPB)

81. Persatuan Penduduk Sg Malikat Marudi Baram (PPSMMB)

82. Persatuan Penduduk Rumah Labang Nanga Seridan Tinjar Beluru Miri (PPRLNSTBM)

83. Persatuan Penduduk Rumah Lachi Anak Bikang Sebatuk Baru, Suai Niah

84. Persatuan Penduduk Sungai Tarak, Lubok Amam, Marudi (PPSTLA)

85. Persatuan Penduduk Kampung Uma Bawang

86. Persatuan Melayu Marudi (PMM)

87. IDRIS Association

88. Pertubuhan Aktivis Pengupayaan Insan (API)

89. Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)

90. Sunflower Electoral Education

91. 雪隆社区关怀协会 Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL联署

92. 學樂書苑 happy learning books聯署

93. 馬大新青年 UMANY 聯署

94. 工大之聲 UTM-MJIIT Voices

95. 國大學生團結陣線 Student Unity Front UKM

96. 竞选盟母亲团 Mama Bersih

97. In Between Cultura 之間文化實驗室

(As at 24/07/2019 9.51AM)







Sunday, 21 July 2019

Press statement

NGOs say NO to Lynas’ toxic legacy -Malaysia must NOT renew Lynas’ licence to generate more toxic radioactive waste

21st July 2019




88 NGOs from all over Malaysia have so far signed onto a strongly worded petition demanding that Cabinet of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government NOT to renew the operating licence of the 100% Australian owned Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng, near Kuantan in Pahang. More are expected to endorse the petition.

“We challenge any Minister and public servant wanting Lynas to continue operating in Malaysia to first fill their own backyard, then go and fill up Putrajaya and Pulau Langkawi with Lynas’ waste!”

“Lynas has misled Malaysia by giving two undertakings to remove its toxic radioactive waste from Malaysia even though Western Australia (WA) had made it clear back in 2011 that its waste would not be accepted into WA, where its Mount Weld mine is located. Now there are nearly half a million tonnes of waste sitting in inadequate storage dams that leak and overflow to contaminate our groundwater and the surrounding environment with nowhere to go.”

The waste stream known as water-leached purification (WLP) from Lynas’ contains long living low-level radioactive thorium which is a known cancer-causing substance. This waste is also contaminated with radioactive uranium, a range of toxic heavy metals, arsenic and a cocktail of chemicals.

Lynas’ own 2011 Safety Case Analysis report by Environ Consulting has stipulated that the WLP waste would be isolated from the biosphere in a permanent disposal facility away from the current site. Under the temporary licence conditions, a site for the PDF was to be found within ten months. In addition, about 1.2 million tonnes of Lynas’ scheduled waste has been stored on site against Malaysian regulations.

“Lynas has flaunted its licence conditions and its own undertakings including those in its Radioactive Waste Management Plan. Why have our regulators been so lenient with Lynas when Lynas enjoys a 12-year tax holiday for leaving us its toxic waste.?”

“We, the Rakyat, have work hard and pay our taxes to the Government. We expect a safe living environment and a hazard-free future for our family and future generations of Malaysians. We do not accept this raw toxic exploitation from Lynas.”

“Cabinet should take heed that Lynas’ financial position has always been precarious although it pays its executive staff fat salaries in AUD. Its ore consists mostly of light rare earth that is not worth much. Lynas could not even afford to pay Malaysia the US$50 million deposit in cash. Lynas has no intention to build a leak-proof PDF that can last at least 1,000 years appropriate for its thorium waste because it could not afford to do so.”

We do not want Lynas’ WLP waste to remain in Malaysia. Why should Malaysia sacrifice productive land to build Lynas’ mega-tomb for its toxic waste? Besides, the high risk of landslides and erosion in a wet tropical country like Malaysia makes it unsafe to house any toxic waste dump.”

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise announcement while he was visiting Japan in late May that Malaysia would renew Lynas’ licence and that the radioactive waste should perhaps be spread out.

“Spreading out radioactive waste will expose more people to its hazards. Is Tun so obsessed with Lynas and its toxic investment that our health and our environment no longer matter to him?”

“We are appalled by the Flying Car Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof advocating for Lynas to keep the toxic waste in Malaysia and more recently, the Bauxite Minister Xavier Jayakumar on rare earth heat wanting to exploit the country’s projected RM700 billion rare earth resources.”

“That RM700billion price tag is more like what Malaysia would have to pay to clean up Lynas’ mega toxic waste and spread-out contamination in 10 years’ time; to pay for the healthcare costs of rising cancer cases to be treated in our hospitals and the losses sustained by fishery and tourism industries due to Lynas’ piles of toxic wastes that have completely ruined the local economy.”

“We are alarmed by these ministers championing Lynas’ corporate profit at the expense of Malaysia’s environment and public health. We voted for PH on May 9 last year because we wanted a clean and sustainable Malaysia.”

“We welcome other groups to join us in our petition to demand Tun and his Cabinet to prioritised Malaysia and Malaysians FIRST instead of Lynas to keep Malaysia clean and green. Any group yet to sign onto our petition can contact SMSL, Greenpeace or any of the groups in the list to add onto our list. We will present the petition to Cabinet Ministers and MPs in the Parliament Caucus


For further comments, please contact:

· Mr Tan Bun Teet - Hp: +60 179 730 576

· Mr Heng KC Hp: +016 319 8278





LAMP - From an intact peat mangrove to a toxic industrial site





Peat fire near LAMP – June 2019