Sabtu, 23 Jun 2012

Lynas chief says opponents are politically motivated

Jun 21: Controversial Australian rare-earth mining firm Lynas chairman Nick Curtis has accused critics of the company's plant in Gebeng, Pahang of having political agenda.

"The matter has been politicised and a small core will continue to take a political view, and they are doing that I believe more for domestic and regional political agendas than because of a fundamental belief in problems associated with the project," he told The Australian.

Curtis repeated his strong defence of the plant amid  widespread protests in Malaysia, arguing that it had now passed "probably as much scrutiny as any project in the world has been through".

According to him, he saw no reason why the firm should not be issued a temporary operating license.

"We do not see any basis on which the licence will not be able to be issued," Curtis said, adding that Lynas had handed documents to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board to prove its ability to satisfy the conditions.

On Tuesday, the PSC committee which comprised of only BN members of parliament supported the issuance of the licence to Lynas citing “scientific facts” to back their argument.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs had earlier stayed away from the PSC accusing it as the federal government's ploy to legitimise the plant in the face of public concerns on its safety as well as an absence of any clear plan to dispose its radioactive wastes.

Radioactive waste management has been at the centre of the Lynas controversy. Early this year, the company resorted to advertisement in local newspapers to convince the public on the safety of its plant.

This followed a revelation by Australia’s National Toxics Network that tailing ponds built by Lynas in Mount Weld would leak some 14,000 litres or five million litres of radioactive tailings waste.

Lynas has also proposed that its non-recyclable wastes from the plant be dumped permanently in a facility under institutional control for 300 years.

Rare earths, a group of 17 metals including neodymium, lanthanum, cerium and europium, are used in fibre-optic transmission, smart bombs, computer disk drives and military radar and missile systems.

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