Sunday 29 September 2013

Articles published by New York Times about Lynas' LAMP

New York Times

· A $230 million refinery being built here in an effort to break China’s global chokehold on rare earth metals is plagued by environmentally hazardous construction and design problems, according to internal memos and current and former engineers on the project.

· But the construction and design may have serious flaws, according to the engineers, who also provided memos, e-mail messages and photos from Lynas and its contractors. The engineers said they felt a professional duty to voice their safety concerns, but insisted on anonymity to avoid the risk of becoming industry outcasts.

· The problems they detail include structural cracks, air pockets and leaks in many of the concrete shells for 70 containment tanks, some of which are larger than double-decker buses. Ore mined deep in the Australian desert and shipped to Malaysia would be mixed with powerful acids to make a slightly radioactive slurry that would be pumped through the tanks, with operating temperatures of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

· The engineers also say that almost all of the steel piping ordered for the plant is made from standard steel, which they describe as not suited for the corrosive, abrasive slurry. Rare earth refineries in other countries make heavy use of costlier stainless steel or steel piping with ceramic or rubber liners.

· The engineers also say that the concrete tanks were built using conventional concrete, not the much costlier polymer concrete mixed with plastic that is widely used in refineries in the West to reduce the chance of cracks.

· Documents show that Lynas and its construction management contractor, UGL Ltd. of Australia, have argued with their contractors that the cracks and moisture in the concrete containment walls are not a critical problem.

· Memos also show that Lynas and UGL have pressed a Malaysian contractor, Cradotex, to proceed with the installation of watertight fiberglass liners designed for the containment tanks without fixing the moisture problem and with limited fixes to the walls. But Cradotex has resisted.

· “These issues have the potential to cause the plants critical failure in operation,” Peter Wan, the general manager of Cradotex, said in a June 20 memo. “More critically the toxic, corrosive and radioactive nature of the materials being leached in these tanks, should they leak, will most definitely create a contamination issue.”

· Mr. Wan said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he believed Lynas and UGL would be able to fix the moisture problem but that he did not know what method the companies might choose to accomplish this.

· The fiberglass liners are made by AkzoNobel of Amsterdam, one of the world’s largest chemical companies. AkzoNobel says it, too, worries about the rising moisture.

· “We will not certify or even consider the use of our coatings if this problem can’t be fixed,” Tim van der Zanden, AkzoNobel’s top spokesman in Amsterdam, wrote on Monday night in an e-mail reply to questions.

· Memos show that the refinery’s concrete foundations were built without a thin layer of plastic that might prevent the concrete pilings from drawing moisture from the reclaimed swampland underneath. The site is located just inland from a coastal mangrove forest, and several miles up a river that flows out to the sea past an impoverished fishing village.

· An engineer involved in the project said that the blueprints called for the plastic waterproofing but that he was ordered to omit it, to save money. The plastic costs $1.60 a square foot, he said.

· One setback for the Lynas project is that a crucial contractor, AkzoNobel, pulled out this autumn, according to engineers here and internal company e-mails. The Dutch chemicals multinational had a contract to supply important resins.

· The resins are supposed to glue together dozens of fiberglass liners for concrete-walled tanks up to the size of double-decker buses. Hundreds of tons of rare earths with low levels of radioactive contamination will be mixed in the lined tanks with extremely corrosive acids at more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

· The corrosiveness of acids increases steeply at high temperatures, which makes acids ideal for dissolving ore but difficult to handle.

· AkzoNobel has long specialized in making some of the most esoteric resins for the mining industry. It uses a secret chemical formula to help the resins hold together fiberglass even under challenging combinations of heat and corrosiveness. The company said last spring that it would supply chemicals for the Lynas project only if it were certain that it would be safe.

· Engineers involved in the project said, and internal e-mails showed, that AkzoNobel withdrew from supplying the chemicals after it was told that the fiberglass liners would be installed in concrete-walled tanks that have a problem with rising dampness in the floors and cracks in the walls. AkzoNobel had been in discussions about the problem of rising dampness, but only became aware of the cracks this autumn, according to the engineers and the memos.

· The engineers said they felt a professional duty to voice their safety concerns, but insisted on anonymity to avoid the risk of becoming industry outcasts.

· In an e-mail, AkzoNobel said that it was no longer supplying the project, but gave only a brief explanation. “Due to changes in the project specification, AkzoNobel would only recommend the use of its linings on the project subject to the successful results of longer-term testing,” the company said. “That testing cannot be completed within the current project time scale.”

· Engineers involved in the project said that Lynas was building costlier steel-walled tanks for a second phase of the factory, which would avoid the need for concrete-walled tanks with fiberglass liners.

A person familiar with the project, who requested anonymity because of the controversy associated with it, said Wednesday that electrical wiring at the project had still not been completed.
Part of the problem is that some components were ordered late and could not be manufactured quickly, the person said, although Lynas has denied that. It would be very difficult, although not impossible, to run the refinery while continuing to install further wiring.

An engineer with a detailed knowledge of the project said Wednesday that another delay had come up in recent days. Complex electronic components that require a long time to manufacture were ordered late and will not be ready for the first phase of the refinery’s construction until November, said the engineer, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation by Lynas in the close-knit mineral processing industry.
Parts of the refinery can be commissioned without the components, including kilns for drying ore, the engineer said, but other sections of the production process require the components.
The engineer disagreed, insisting that the parts were needed for the first phase.

The report did not assess the quality of workmanship and construction engineering at the site. Current and former engineers on the project have warned of environmentally hazardous construction and design problems at the refinery because of cost-cutting and shoddy workmanship,

Memorandum to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) 26th September 2013

Memorandum to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI)

Submitted by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas & Stop Lynas Coaltion

26th September 2013

For the urgent attention of YB Datuk Dr. Ewon Ebin

Subject: Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP)


The Minister to instruct the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to immediately revoke Lynas’ TOL under section 22 of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 (Act 304), and order Lynas to immediately cease operation. This is in light of Lynas’ failure to provide a detailed plan for its radioactive waste by 3rd July 2013, the deadline set when the TOL was issued.


Lynas has failed to fulfill a key condition for its TOL. The government has the duty of care to its citizens, especially to the residents of the Balok area near Gebeng who are already exposed to Lynas’ pollution since it started operating last November, to suspend Lynas’ TOL to protect our environment and our health.

In Attachment 1 is a summary of the conclusion from Germany’s Oeko Institute based on a comprehensive scientific evaluation of Lynas’ waste and pollution management strategy as submitted for the licensing approval. The study clearly outlined several serious deficiencies which MOSTI must take heed and act on in the interest of Malaysia.

There are likely medium to long-term environmental, economic and social impacts from Lynas’ pollution and radiation contamination if the plant is allowed to operate. To date only a preliminary environmental impact assessment has been carried out which is grossly inadequate to fully understand the full impact from a world-scale operation such as the LAMP.

Failure to stop the Lynas pollution will cost Malaysia in the long run leaving behind a toxic legacy that will forever be a burden for Malaysia and its future generations. This is not in our national interest. Lynas’ waste contains radioactive thorium and uranium amongst other likely toxic substances. Thorium has a half-life of 14 billion years!


The LAMP belonging to Australia’s Lynas Corporation is built on a peat swamp near fishing villages and the South China Sea, a key fishing ground for the east coast of Malaysia. The coastal strip is increasingly popular amongst domestic and foreign tourists.

Rare earth processing has long been known to be highly hazardous. The process involves the addition of highly concentrated acids at very high temperature. Acid fumes, toxic gasses and fine particles can cause very serious air pollution when they are not contained properly. Large volumes of highly saline water likely to be contaminated with chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive substances are expected to be discharged from the Lynas plant to the Balok River which eventually flows into the South China Sea only 3km away.

The LAMP is not a State-of-the-Art Refinery

Former senior engineers working for Lynas during its construction phase had revealed many serious defects – see Attachment 2 for a summary of these defects. Eric Noyrez, Lynas’ present Chief Executive Officer has recently conceded to the media that the LAMP has equipment and technical problems which are affecting its production. The occupational health and safety (OH&S) implication of these construction defects has never been assessed independently by an expert. We have heard of serious workers injuries and several deaths at the LAMP. No detail has yet been made public to date. The turnover of staff remains very high despite the high wage level at Lynas.

Earlier this year in February, we received reports from local residents of dark fumes billowing out of Lynas’ chimney stack at night. So far, no data on air or water pollution from DoE or Lynas has been made public.

The market has lost confidence in Lynas. Its share value has plunged to around Australian 40 cents a share recently. Currently Lynas is operating below a sustainable financial manner casting doubt on its long term viability.

Impact on the Environmental and local Seafood

The Balok River sustains one of the few important mangrove forests – see Attachment 3 for details. The Balok River is used extensively on a daily basis both for recreational purpose and to sustain local livelihoods. It floods the surrounding mangrove at high tide and leaves behind a wide range of suspensions on the flood plains at low tide. Shell fish thrive in these flood plains. Locals collect mud crabs and other shell fish as well as collecting palm fruits to sell and/or for self-consumption. The Balok River should not be used for industrial waste water discharge and domestic sewerage dumping. The World Health Organisation (WHO) standard for water should be adhered to – refer to Chapter 8 and 9 for discussion and standards for chemicals and radiation:,d.bmk

Recycling of Lynas Waste is a Hazard and a Health Risk

Lynas’ proposed recycling of the solid waste is risky in light of the presence of radioactive substances and other toxic substances in its waste. The Oeko Institute has estimated the radiation exposure dose for several recycling scenarios of Lynas waste. In all of the scenarios, the public will be exposed to unacceptable high total dose of radiation if it is released into the public domain – see slides 4 and 5 of Attachment 1.

It is highly unlikely Lynas will find any buyer in Malaysia or overseas for its contaminated waste.

Shipping Lynas Waste out of Malaysia is Not an Option

A joint ministerial statement issued by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry on 10th December 2012 reiterated that that Lynas must remove “all the residue generated by LAMP out of Malaysia. This includes all products made from the residue.” It further added that the Cabinet has endorsed this condition.

The Western Australian Government has clarified several times in the state Parliament that it will NOT allowed Lynas waste to be returned to the state. Extracts from the WA official parliamentary record Hansard is attached as Attachment 4 and 5. In addition, Australia has a strict policy against importing any radioactive materials ( .

Further, trans-boundary transportation of hazardous waste is controlled by the Basel Convention It will be near impossible for Lynas to find a country willing to accept millions of tonnes of its waste whether raw or processed. In Malaysia’s interest, Lynas should NOT be allowed to produce any waste until this issue is truly resolved.

Public Should be Informed and Updated

Leading up to the issuing of the TOL to Lynas, many recommendations and conditions were made:

· 11 recommendations made by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its June 2011 review;

· 5 conditions set by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for its licensing approval in January 2012;

· 2 additional conditions set by the Minister of Science, Technology and Investment (MOSTI) following the Ministerial Review in June 2012; and

· 31 recommendations by the Parliamentary Select Committee in June 2012.

We have no idea how and if any of the recommendations or conditions has been followed up. They were written to give the public the impression that the government will be watching Lynas. The government has never bothered to explain to the people and local residents how exactly it has been monitoring and evaluating Lynas’ pollution. How do we know if the Balok River is safe for use? How will we know if the seafood from the nearby area is not contaminated? How do we know for sure Lynas’ waste gases are within the safe limits? What are exactly found in Lynas’ waste?


In addition to the earlier demand to revoke Lynas’ TOL, SMSL request the Government to:

· Act on recommendation 11 (c) of the June 2011 IAEA Report on Lynas to invite a follow-up mission on Lynas as soon as possible

· Make public all available data relevant to Lynas’ air, water and waste discharges for independent scrutiny and analysis

· Carry out independent detailed environmental and social impact assessment before allowing Lynas to continue with its operation

· Carry out an independent engineering audit of the LAMP both to assess its structural soundness and its OH&S implication.

· Disclose to the public how the Government has carried out the recommendations and/or monitored the conditions outlined in the previous section.

· Learn and heed lessons from China to institute more stringent legal limits related to rare earth processing to more effectively control its pollution.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Let’s Finish Lynas Off!

For over two years we have fought tirelessly to Stop Lynas. We have crossed many milestones and Lynas is now fighting its own battle to survive even though the Lynas plant is still in Gebeng. Let us KEEP UP our spirit to save our future!

Lynas – An Investment NightmareLynas’ share value has been hovering between A38c to A45c as compared to its peak value of A$2.30 in early 2011 – clearly the market has lost confidence in Lynas. Recently Lynas sold its first batch of rare earths at a huge loss for a paltry A$5/kg against a high production costs of almost A$20/kg! Besides, it only managed to sell 117 tonnes of refined rare earth oxide, a long way short of its highly publicised first phase target of 11,000 tonnes. Lynas finally conceded there have been equipment problems and processing times that were longer than expected. The Deutsche Bank again issued a “SELL” advice on ground that Lynas is facing possible capital issues casting doubt on its ability to repay one of its debt facilities.

To top it up, Lynas has withdrawn its defamation suit against Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL). SMSL has advocated based on evidence and credible scientific and engineering assessment of the Lynas project. We have consulted with highly qualified independent experts from different fields. Our claims are backed up with facts and science. We will continue to fight until we have exhausted every available legal avenue here and in Australia. We will campaign so that no reputable potential buyers will touch Lynas’ products for fear of a backlash from green consumers who expect a very high standard of environmental safeguards and social responsibility.

No Safe Solution for Radioactive Waste and PollutionUntil today, Lynas has yet to find a safe permanent solution for its radioactive waste even though the licensing condition has set a July 2013 deadline. It is still operating under a temporary licence. By right the government should have suspended Lynas’ licence. Many of Lynas’ pollution, occupational health and safety risks and hazards identified by our experts have yet to be resolved. As Lynas pays no taxes to Malaysia, the government will end up having to resort to public fund to tackle any major disaster, long-term pollution and hazards from Lynas. In the end we the local residents and Malaysian public will be left to deal with Lynas’ mishaps and its toxic waste.

To keep our country safe and clean, we must not tolerate a hazardous project like the Lynas’ rare earth refinery plant to risk our environment, our health and our investment. The Stop Lynas campaign has gained momentum to become Malaysia’s biggest ever environmental campaign. The people in Kuantan and surrounding area delivered a convincing win to several MPs and ADUNs on the Stop Lynas election platform. We have paved the way to hold the government more accountable and transparent. We have to keep this momentum UP by making sure our elected Federal and State representatives do their job to stop Lynas!

Stop Lynas Campaign now Known Worldwide - FIGHT TILL THE ENDOur opposition to the Lynas plant is now known all over the world. There is now renewed interest from overseas on the issue and we are getting more overseas supporters. We have to show the government, Lynas and the world that we are determined to fight till the end to for a safer and cleaner future and that our campaign is moving from strength to strength. We have to show any potential buyer and investors that the Lynas plant is a liability and a high risk investment because of its poor plant construction, poor waste and pollution management plan as well as the strong and sustained public opposition to the plant.

Play your part to Stop Lynas - Act Now!
Mari Sama-Sama Membenam LYNAS ! Lebih dua tahun kita bermati-matian melawan Lynas . Kita telah bertemu dengan berbagai-bagai halangan dan kerenah . Malangnya Lynas masih kekal di Gebeng . Namun marilah kita terus melawan dengan penuh semangat untuk kepentingan masa depan generasi kita !

Lynas – Satu Mimpi Ngeri. Saham Lynas kini merudum di antara AU$0.38 ke AU$0.45 seunit berbanding dengan masa kemuncaknya AU$ 2.30 seunit awal tahun 2011 .Jelas di sini pembeli mula mencurigai Lynas . Baru-baru ini Lynas menjual nadir bumi dengan kerugian sebanyak A$5/kg berbanding kos pengeluaran sebanyak A$20/kg. Di samping itu Lynas hanya mampu menjual 117 metrik ton nadir bumi yang diproses, jauh kekurangan daripada 11, 000 metrik ton yang dianggarkan. Dalam kenyatan akhbar akhir-akhir ini Lynas telah mengaku mereka mengalami masalah peralatan menyebabkan tempoh pemprosesan lebih lama dari yang dijangka . Lynas sebenarnya kini menghadapi masalah kekurangan modal untuk menjelaskan hutangnya.
Lynas telah menarik balik saman fitnahnya terhadap Save Malaysia Stop Lynas ( SMSL ) untuk mengurangkan kos . SMSL telah mendapatkan khidmat pakar bebas dalam berbagai bidang , fakta , kejuruteraan dan sains dalam membuat justifikasi tentang permasalahan Lynas . Kita akan terus berjuang dari berbagai sudut termasuklah tindakan undang-undang di Australia .

Tidak Ada Penyelesaian Kepada Bahan Radioaktif Dan Pencemaran . Kini Lynas gagal mengemukakan penyelesaian tentang sisa radioaktif yang dihasilkannya walau pun tarikh akhirnya Julai 2013 sudah berlalu! Jadi , kempen anti Lynas mesti diteruskan . Ia perlu melibatkan semua Ahli Parlimen dan ADUN yang kita pilih di Pahang khususnya Kuantan .

LAWAN TERUS SAMPAI KE PENGHUJUNG Penentangan kita terhadap Lynas tersebar keseluruh dunia ! Kita perlu terus berjuang hingga Berjaya!

Mainkan Peranan Anda Untuk Hentikan Lynas – Bertindak Sekarang!

投资者的噩梦-莱纳斯在过去的几个月,莱纳斯的股价游走在A$0.45 与0.38之间,而在2011 年初(在我们还未推动抗争运动前),它的每股价格是A$2.30,这正反映了市场对它的投资信心!上个月莱纳斯以每公斤A$5.00,卖出了117 屯的稀土元素与市场买者,然而它每公斤的生产成本却是A$20.00!这离它原定每年生产11,000 屯的目标,差距实在是太大了!在莱纳斯最近的文告,它终于承认它正面对各种生产的拖延及设备的问题! 德国的Bankagain机构发出‘售出’的忠告与它的投资者。 它认为莱纳斯可能面对资金短缺及赏还债务的能力。

除此之外, 莱纳斯最近也终止了它对拯救大马的诽谤诉讼。拯救大马一路来都以确凿及可信赖的科学及科技论述,针对莱纳斯稀土厂可能面对的工程及其他事项做出中肯及符合专家评估的批评。我们将继续通过在本地及澳洲的司法及所有合法的途径,推动终止莱纳斯运动,直到它撤出为止!我们也要让有意接手这间稀土厂的买家知道,我们会与所有推动绿色运动的盟友结合,确保环境与社会责任,获得它应有的关注!




终止莱纳斯运动获得了世界的关注-让我们奋斗到底!我们的终止莱纳斯运动得到了世界各地的关注与支持!最近有又有海外的一些支持者,表示密切的关怀!让我们尊重的表态,我们会继续不断的反对建立在格宾的莱纳斯稀土厂;我们也要让有意收购这间稀土厂的买家,我们绝不允许我们赖以生存的环境,受到任意污染。这间充满瑕疵和缺乏适当的废料处置方案的稀土厂,将会成为任何想接手的资本家,血本无归;因为我们会不间断的抗争, 直到它退出为止!