Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lynas has NO safe solution to tackle its toxic waste

The latest feature program on Al-Jazeera -The Stream "Is Malaysia risking it all for rare earths?"

SUNDAY 09 December 2012 
Lynas has NO safe solution to tackle its
toxic waste

The latest gimmick by Lynas to demonstrate that its rare earth ore is safe whilst it has finally conceded that the toxic radioactive waste cannot be shipped out of Malaysia is just a typical Lynas way to try to deceive Malaysians and a poor attempt to salvage its tarnished reputation.

SMSL spokesperson Mr Tan Bun Teet says, “It goes to show how desperate Lynas is now – having to convince the market that it will not face further protest and court actions in Malaysia on the one hand and having to deal with the outrage of Malaysians over its massive waste problems on the other.”

Mr Tan is one of the Kuantan residents who has filed judicial reviews cases through the court to revoke the Lynas temporary operating licence (TOL). Both cases have been accepted by the Kuantan high court waiting for the hearing to begin. SMSL has also applied through the court of appeal to reinstate the stay on the TOL. The hearing for this appeal is scheduled for 19th December.

Lynas was once a favourite of the top 100 companies of the Australian Stock Exchange; it is now one of the worst performers. The market has progressively lost patience and confidence in Lynas. Daiwa Capital Markets was the first to sound the warning bell - as early as January when it wrote a report based on a field investigation on Lynas More recently, Deutche Bank, Forster and UBS[1] have all downgraded their assessment of Lynas. Foster has given the “sell” call on Lynas stock. Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have warned of possible cash flow problems for Lynas if the plant is further delayed.[2] Lynas shares are trading at an all-time low closing at just 61c on Friday.

“It is irresponsible for Lynas to try to fool us that rare earth is harmless. Lynas is playing with fire in Malaysia. By doing this Lynas has showed itself up to be a rouge company taking advantage of Malaysia’s lax environmental law and poor enforcement standard. This is why we have to do everything possible to stop this toxic project.” Ram Ponusamy another Kuantan resident who has challenged the government on the TOL says.

Whilst radioactive materials are known carcinogens recent research has found exposure to rare earth to have adverse health impacts. Rare earth exposure has been linked to lower IQ in children and damages to lung, bone and liver. Whilst the Malaysian Government is facilitating Lynas to use its citizens as guinea pigs, the world’s largest food company Unilever cancelled an entire batch of China tea when it was found to contain an unacceptable high level of rare earth. China has recently introduced tougher legal requirements on the rare earth industry with legal limits set for a wide range of hazardous substances linked to its processing.

Malaysian environmental law is over 20 years out of date with no reference or limits for many of the toxic substances soon to be produced by the Lynas plant despite the bitter and tragic lessons from the now closed Mitsubishi rare earth plant in Bukit Merah. The Atomic Energy Licensing Board has failed the Bukit Merah people and it is now failing the people of Kuantan by issuing Lynas its TOL.

Lynas has no safe solution for its millions of tonnes of toxic radioactive waste and yet it is charging ahead with its refinery. Once operational, Lynas will be dumping hazardous waste in Malaysia, a practice in stark contrast to its highly promoted ‘zero harm’ claim!

Lynas is still claiming that it will recycle the toxic waste into commercial products. This kind of practice is illegal in many advanced industrialised nations due to the presence of radioactive substances, heavy metals and hazardous chemical compounds in the waste. Commercialising this kind of by-products if it is at all possible legally, is risky and hazardous as it will spread the hazards further to more people and to more places – another anti-thesis to Lynas’ ‘zero harm’ motto!

Haji Ismail Abu Bakar another case applicant asks “Who will buy Lynas’ by-products? Any company which dares to buy Lynas’ hazardous by-products will risk financial ruin through its bad reputation. Lynas is simply saying this to fool the ill-informed and the unsuspected. We do not want this kind of company operating in our backyard. We are no fools!”

By issuing Lynas its temporary operating licence, the Government has failed in its duty of care to regulate Lynas and to protect the rakyat and Malaysia’s natural resources from dangerous hazards and pollution.

“SMSL has the mandate from our many supporters to fight until the end to shut down the Lynas plant. We will pursue every single legal avenue available out there and campaign in every possible way to vote this irresponsible and incompetent government out. Our future is too precious to be ruined by a profit-seeking foreign company that pays no tax.” Mr Tan reiterates the stance of SMSL.



  1. Mr Tan
    you debated Lynas on Aljazera and had a fair hearing
    however you failed at every question to give an answer!
    all you wanted was to hear the sound of your own voice
    you had no facts to back up your rhetoric and still produce no scientific facts for your supporters.
    the day will come when you have to answer in court for all the deception and nonsense that you have on this blog
    the truth always wins

    I feel very sorry for the uneducated ones that blindly follow your words - it makes the local people look rather silly on the world stage and makes Malaysia as a whole a bad place to visit or do business

    it is now certain that you are using this as a political issue - however for many months you have stood behind the shield of waste and radioactive problems. This now has disappeared and you are now standing naked with your political ideals.

    good luck to you and in paying the litigation bills from shareholders that are coming your way soon

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