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Lynas chief seeks meeting with MP Fuziah

June 21, 2011
Jun 21, 11 5:43pm
Lynas executive chairperson Nicholas Curtis has sought a meeting with Kuantan parliamentarian Fuziah Salleh, who is one of key opponents of the rare earth plant being built near her constituency in Pahang.“He (Curtis) has invited me for a meeting to discuss the issue involving Lamp (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant) in the near future,” said Fuziah in a twitter posting today.

“And he also wants to talk about the concerns of the Kuantan people over the safety of the residents around Gebeng and Kuantan.”

NONEIt is not clear whether Fuziah will accept the invitation, but the PKR politician said she will make an announcement tomorrow.

“He emailed me the invitation to talk. I’ll call for PC tomorrow with my answer,” Fuziah told Malaysiakini.

Curtis (right) is in Kuala Lumpur today as part of a one-day charm offensive. He met with a number of editors from both the mainstream and alternative media.

He conceded that Lynas has made a mistake in failing to engage the local community in Kuantan well enough.

Fears of radiation

The Lynas plant, which is scheduled to begin producing rare earths – a material indispensable in making many high-tech products – by the end of September, has ran into controversy with stringent opposition from Kuantan residents who feared radiation from the waste produced.

The RM700 million facility – which will refine raw material from Mount Weld in Western Australia – is described as “the largest of its kind” and set to provide the first new source of supply of rare earths outside China.

Rare earths such as super-magnet dysprosium and red-glowing europium are vital components in hard-drives and computer and mobile telephone screens, while the metals are also pivotal in making laser missile systems, wind turbines and solar panels.

NONEThe project has however drawn criticism from environmental groups, which were “appalled” the government had approved it after a similar plant in Bukit Merah, Perak was forced to shut down in 1992.

In the bid to overcome growing opposition, the government has set up an independent panel appointed by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct a review on the radiation safety at the proposed plant.

The 10-member IAEA team is set to submit its findings to the Malaysian government by June 30 after spending a week early this month holding public consultation sessions and visiting the plant site in Gebeng, about 50km from Kuantan.

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