Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Feedback on Lynas' Radioactive Waste Plan

Related Submission/Media Release:
1) SMSL-SLC : Local Says Market Won't Buy Lynas' Recycled Waste
2) Epidemiologist & Chemical Engineer (Environment) : Fears Linger over Lynas Plant
3) Kuantan MP 
Written Submission to MOSTI/AELB
4) Consumer Assoc. of Penang(CAP) & Sahabat Alam Malaysia(SAM)  Written Submission to MOSTI/AELB
 

Joint Submission dated January 26, 2012 to AELB & MOSTI
by  Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Stop Lynas Coaltion (SLC) on
Lynas Malaysia rare earth refinery application documents for pre-operating licence

A photograph taken on Jan13, 2012 while Lynas rare earth plant which is of radioactive industry was flooded.
1.0 General Overview
Document 1 – Radioactive Waste Management Plan(RWMP) &
Document 2 – Safety Case for Radioactive Waste Disposal LAMP


1.1 Comments 
Upon review of the two documents on displayed, many gaps
and problems have been identified as follows:

• The current RWMP (Doc 1) and the associated Safety Case
(Doc 2) have not presented an effective safe and reliable waste
management strategy for both radioactive and non-radioactive
waste.

• The absence of a detailed EIA to address crucial environmental
issues such as the LAMP’s impact on the various eco-system
services risks irreversible environmental damages, food
contamination, health hazards and loss of livelihoods and income
for local people.

• The absence of ANY social impact assessment greatly
disadvantaged communities and business owners who face
adverse consequences as a result of the LAMP.

• Lynas has not fully disclosed details of the contentof each of the
individual waste streams. These materials may be hazardous
and/or toxic with serious health and/or environmental hazards.
In the absence of complete data, it will be risky and impossible
forMOSTI and the AELB to assess the merits and credibility of
Lynas’ remedial procedures for its waste streams.

• Lynas by its own admission hasbased solely on laboratory tests
and theories or concepts to design and handle its complex
hazardous waste streams. These data cannot be relied on for
licensing approval.

• Lynas’ claimed low concentration of radioactive thorium and
uranium has not been verified by any independent experts. No
detailed data or sampling data has been made available for public
scrutiny. The radioactivity levels are all estimated with none
measured. This increase the project hazard risks greatly.

• Lynas being a speculative company with no other fixed assets
or financial reserves beyond the sole rare earth project is
financially risky. Lynas’ cash flow and financial viability are
highly dependent on the demand for its rare earth oxides and their
market value.


A safe rare earth refinery plant requires high engineering
standard and  heavy capital investment. The LAMP was rushed
through with shonky construction and cheap building materials.
Inside information has shown:


serious defects and faults even before the plant is operational. See
photos attached for some of the examples of the problems.

Its flood prone location rendering the plant at risk of being flooded
potentially polluting the surrounding peat land, ground water and
waterways as well as the South China Sea – see photos of Lynas in
flood and its flooded waste water outlets.

Attached letter showing a reputable international chemical company
AkzoNobel cancelling a contract and refunding Lynas. [please scroll down to the bottom to view the letter.]


1.2 Suggestions:
In the absence of a clear scientific consensus on the health impact
of low dose radiation exposure, the precautionary principle should
prevail. MOSTI and AELB must uphold its duty of care for the
citizens and to protect public health and safety by rejectingLynas’
current application for a pre-operational licence and seek its
re-submission to specifically address the following:

• To carry out a detailed environmental impact assessment
addressing aspects of the environment including the Balok River,
the mangrove communities, the South China Sea and the peat
land in the plant and surrounding area which have not been studied
to date.

• To carry out a social impact study in order to determine the
implication of the project for the local and wider community.

• To ensure that both the detailed EIA and the SIA will be easily
accessible to the public with sufficient time for comments and input

• Provision of financial surety or bond before any licence is issued
to ensure adequate funds are available to meet the costs of any
industrial accidents, unexpected contamination from Lynas’
waste streams.


MOSTI through the MPK to carry out an independent engineering 
audit to identify the range of construction defects and design fault 
before considering any licensing application by Lynas for its LAMP


Before the plant allowed to start operation, the radioactive waste water treatment pond was already full of rainwater.
2.0 Specific issues from Document 1
Document 1 - Radioactive Waste Management Plan

2.1.1 Comments on Section 2.1 p. 12Malaysia’s regulatory requirement stipulates that two Ministries are
responsible for matters pertaining to the Radioactive Materials i.e.
MOSTI and the Ministry of Health (MOH) where medical aspects
come under the MOH. However, the MOH appear not to have been
consulted about the project to date even though there are many health
issues which should concern the MOH.

2.1.2 Suggestions on Section 2.1 p. 12
• The MOH should be actively engaged in the discussion around health
risks and hazards of the LAMP.

• MOH needs to play an active role in the decision making process about
the LAMP.

2.2.1  Comments on Section 3 p.33
Table 3 contain incomplete and inconsistent data. A detailed and
complete list of substances in each of the waste streams is not available,
raising questions as to Lynas’ commitment to transparency and
accountability. Examples:

• Hydrofluoric acid was used in the process but no data is shown on this
highly toxic substance.

• Lead is mentioned to be present but it is not in the list in Table 3

2.2.2  Suggestions on Section 3 p.33
Lynas should be made to produce a COMPLETE list of substances in
each of its waste streams including their estimated quantity. These data
are essential to facilitate an informed decision making process. In the
absence of these vital information, any decision made will be futile
and risky.

2.3.1  Comments on Section 3 p. 37
The graph is inconsistent with the discussion and Lynas’ proposed doubling
of production from year 2. The straight linear relation is based on the
lower Phase 1 capacity. It has not been adjusted for the doubling of
capacity in Phase 2

2.3.2 Suggestions on Section 3 p.37
Lynas must be required to produce consistent and accurate
data to facilitate informed decision making.

2.4.1  Comments on Section3.3.4
Information on p.38 indicated that Lynas has yet to find a permanent
solution to its radioactive waste (WLP). Its proposal to convert the waste
into commercial by product/s is puzzling and UNACCEPTABLE as the
discussion in Document 2 (p8 Exec Summary) indicated that only the lesser
radioactive contaminated FGD and NUF are to be turned into gypsum and
fertiliser enhancer.

The proposal to use any of Lynas waste stream for commercial purpose
is highly unsafe and risky therefore unacceptable. It will literary scatter
Lynas’ radioactive substances into households, offices and food production
areas. This will expose more people to long-term contact to lose dose
radiation and increase the risk of ingestion of radioactive particles.
Further, Lynas’ radioactive waste will become more unstable and
hazardous as the radioactive thorium and uranium are subject to
a series of chemical reactions in the rare earth processing and the
subsequent decaying process through time. Information presented
in document 1 and 2 are based primarily on their inert properties and
behaviour. Their decaying state and their daughters include highly
dangerous substances such as the carcinogenic radon www.icrp.org/docs/ICRP_Statement_on_Radon(November_2009).pdf and a number of other
hazardous ‘daughters’.

A permanent site for its radioactive waste remained unspecific. In the
highly likely event that Lynas’ proposal to convert the radioactive waste
into commercial by-product/s cannot be approved or accepted, a safe
solution to store its radioactive waste remain unavailable posing serious
ecological, health and economic risks and hazards for the community and
Malaysia as a whole in the long run

2.4.2 Suggestions on Section3.3.4
MOSTI and AELB should not issue any pre-operating licence UNLESS
and UNTIL Lynas can realistically demonstrate a safe permanent solution
to its massive amount of radioactive waste. The AELB should not approve
of any attempt by Lynas to commercialise its waste – be they lowly
contaminated FGD and NUF or radioactive WLP. Commercialisation of
any of Lynas’ waste streams will essentially increase and spread the risk of
radiation exposure (no matter how low) and ingestion of radioactive particles.

3.0 Specific issues from Document 2 
Document 2 - Safety Case for Radioactive Waste Disposal LAMP

3.1.1  Comments on Exec Summary para 3 p. 8
Lynas is attempting to jump the gun by naming the FGD & NUF waste
asresidueswhen its plan to recycle as a feedstock to production of
synthetic gypsum or as a fertiliser enhancer is merely likelihood and
had not been subject to commercial feasibility study or consumers
acceptability of these by-products contaminated with radioactive
particles and other toxic heavy metals including lead as well as hazardous
substances such as phosphorous.

Phosphorus contaminated gypsum boards are now linked with radiation
exposure and is a subject of a safety campaign:

http://www.zerowasteamerica.org/Phospho-Gypsum.htm -
“The use of phospho-gypsum plaster-board and plaster cement in buildings
as a substitute for natural gypsum may constitute an additional source of
radiation exposure to both workers and members of the public, both from
inhalation of radon progeny produced from radon which is exhaled from the
plaster-board and from beta and gamma radiation produced by radioactive
decay in the plaster-board.”

Gypsum made from Lynas’ WLP will be classified as phosphor-gypsum.
Further issues that need addressing are:

1. Will there be a market for the synthetic gypsum which is likely to be
contaminated with radioactive particles (no matter how little) and
other hazardous substances? The American Gypsum Association do
NOT accept gypsum made with contaminated materials.

2. Similarly, will farmers and crop growers risk the food safety standard by
using fertiliser enhancer made from Lynas’ waste?

3. Contaminated gypsum in the USA has resulted in a class action against
the supplier and the importers see http://www.drywalllegalhelp.com/.

4. Even if the market accept the contaminated gypsum, can it fully absorb
the colossal amount produced given that the LAMP will be producing at
least 300,000 tonnes of contaminated waste every year?

3.1.2 Suggestions on Exec Summary para 3 p. 8
The commercial viability of such by-products needs to be assessed before
making any assumption that this recycling proposal is viable in reality.

MOSTI and AELB should seriously consider the dire consequences of
commercialising by-products made from Lynas’ contaminated waste.
Until and UNLESS a complete list of contaminants and its quantity is
clearly established, no commercialisation should EVER be considered as
a precautionary measure.

3.2.1  Comments on Section 2.15 Scheduled (Hazardous) Waste
Management

Many of the substances in Lynas’ waste streams are toxic and hazardous.
Until and unless a complete list and their quantity is made known, decision
making based on the incomplete list will be futile.

3.2.2  Suggestions on Section 2.15 Scheduled (Hazardous) Waste
Management

A complete list of substances which will be found in
Lynas’ waste streams should be made available to MOSTI
AELB and the public for closer scrutiny. Non-radioactive
substances have their own risk and hazards which should
be fully understood and dealt with.


3.3.1  Comments on Section 7.3 p. 50
Lynas has admitted to the strong relationship between Th02 and pH value,
which means that the thorium compound Th02becomes increasingly
soluble in more acidic environment. This is a serious concern since Lynas’
waste water will be discharged into the Balok River unlike other rare earth
plant such as Molycorp in the USA and newer projects being considered in
Australia with zero waste water discharge – despite their siting in arid and
semi-arid land in contrast with Gebeng’s wet tropical peatland!
Considering the Balok flood plain and the coastal region being such an
important seafood area and tourism hot spots, allowing Lynas to discharge
its waste water as proposed by Lynas will be futile and dangerous.

3.3.2  Suggestions on Section 7.3 p. 50
Lynas should NEVER be allowed to discharge its waste
water into the Balok River, the South China Sea via the
Balok River or in any other forms of channel. MOSTI and
AELB must insist on a zero discharge strategy upon Lynas
to safeguard the vital seafood and tourism industry of
the east coast of Malaysia. Failure to do so will result in
irreversible and expensive ecological and health problems
for generations to come.


3.4.1  Comments on Executive Summary p. 9
Given the strong relationship between Th02 and pH value, it is confusing
for Lynas to then claim the “ Low solubility of Thorium” as an important
property that contribute to its safe management in the Executive

Summary.
The playing down of the low radioactivity of Lynas waste (notably WLP)
by Lynas in Document 2 which is meant to present a strong safety case
for its radioactive waste management is a real concern. A well designed
Safety Case should premise on the precautionary principle :
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001395/139578e.pdf
Instead Lynas has adopted a least cost and lowest common denominator
scenario in its proposal.
Lynas’ attempt to deceive the Malaysian authorities to play down the risks
and hazards of its radioactive waste can result in poor decision making
resulting in dangerous and hazardous pollution for the country.

3.4.2  Suggestions on Executive Summary p. 9 
MOSTI and AELB to warn Lynas against giving deceptive and inconsistent
information to confuse the problem and to play down the complexity of
managing thorium and uranium as well as other hazardous substances in
the waste streams.

MOSTI and AELB must insist that Lynas adopt the precautionary principle
for its Safety Case and demand Lynas to re-do the entire case based on
this premise before considering any licence application.

Android HQ Has Revised the #Stop Lynas Apps to Upgraded Version! Feel Free to Use it. TQ for All the Support!

Please kindly write your feedback to us at SaveMalaysia2011@gmail.com

Please feel free to scan the QR code above to use it or Click here to download it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

You Can Now Follow Closely the Lynas Issue via Your Android Gadget too !

This apps is developed by volunteers & sponsored by Android as for corporate social responsibility

Lynas' Weak Licence Application Full of Loopholes


Press statement of the joint press conference January 26, 2012
by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Stop Lynas Coaltion(SLC) on
Lynas Malaysia rare earth refinery application for pre-operating licence

Today marked the final day for public comments on Lynas’ application for the pre-operating licence for its Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng.

Together with concerned citizens including representatives from the Pahang Bar Council and the Malaysian Medical Association who converged at the Pahang Secretariat Office, SMSL and SLC delivered a joint submission to MOSTI and the AELB urging the two authorities to reject Lynas’ application until a safer plan is produced.

Mr Tan Bun Teet, the  Chairperson of SMSL lamented,
“We are disappointed but not surprised by the very weak application presented by Lynas.  Most worrying of all is that Lynas’ proposed waste management plan is full of holes and is totally unsafe.  Under no circumstance should the Malaysian Government issues the licence.”

Lynas proposed to turn its waste into commercial gypsum and fertiliser enhancer.  If accepted, this plan will result in hazardous and radioactive substances being scattered into residential houses, offices, farms and plantations.

“The Government must enforce its own law to make sure Lynas carry out a detailed environmental impact assessment.  Given the high population density, a social impact assessment should also be carried out before considering any further application for licence by Lynas for the LAMP.  Both of these documents when done should be easily accessible to the public with adequate time to comment and scrutinise.” Said Andansura Rabu the spokesperson and chairperson of the Stop Lynas Coalition and a resident of Balok, the town closest to the LAMP.

The towns and villages along the coast from Kuantan to Kemaman consist mainly of traditional fishing communities.  Hundreds of families rely on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.  Contaminated water from the Lynas plant will be discharged into the Balok River which drains into the South China Sea risking serious pollution of these important fishing grounds and tourism hotspots.

Tourism is a growing industry along the east coast.  The prestigious world-class Club Med resort is only about 15km north of the LAMP.

“If the Government issues the licence without a proper detailed EIA and a social impact study, the local economy and the health of citizens will be severely affected.  Besides, who will want to holiday near a massive toxic plant and swim in the sea contaminated with rare earth pollution?” Added Mr Tan.

SMSL and SLC reiterated their stance to the Government that both groups will do everything possible to ensure there is a safe and clean future for Malaysia.

SMSL and SLC have raise funds from the public to explore legal avenues so that legal actions can be taken if Lynas is allowed to operate despite its unsafe waste management strategy.

“We hope the Government will seriously consider the comments and suggestions presented through the submissions.  Otherwise, we will have no choice but to take the matter to the court.” Concluded Mr Tan and Mr Rabu.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lynas Wants to Dump Radioactive Wastes on Island of Malaysia

 A photograph taken by volunteers underwater of an island off Pahang for the publicity use for Himpunan Hijau 109 (the previous Green Rally on Oct 9, 2011) which had attracted at least 5,000 people to reach Kuantan nationwide against Lynas rare earth refinery being built on Malaysia such a  wet land.

 

Fresh protests against Pahang rare earth plant


Lester Kong, Malaysia Correspondent
The Straits Times Singapore
January 28, 2012



KUALA LUMPUR: A plan to dump radioactive waste from a controversial rare earth plant onto an island off Pahang has revived protests against it, just as the Malaysian government is expected to make a decision on the issue as early as next week.

Residents and a coalition of environmental groups are threatening to hold a rally near the site next month, ramping up demands to close down the plant built by Australian company Lynas Corp.

The outcry came after Lynas released waste management plans that showed a proposal to dump radioactive waste from the plant on an uninhabited island off Pahang. It also proposed building a permanent disposal facility on under-utilised or undeveloped land, or disused mining land. The plans were put on public display until this week.

The plant had sparked a huge controversy after it came to public attention last year, and could well become an election issue. Located in the seaside town of Gebeng, the RM2.5 billion (S$1.03 billion) refinery was aimed at capitalising on rising worldwide demand for rare earths, essential materials in many consumer electronics, including laptops and MP3 players.

The company had planned to start production at the refinery, which is 95 per cent completed, in September last year, but this was delayed by public protests. It has repeatedly maintained that the plant is safe.

Lynas has yet to secure an operating licence. International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed has said the Cabinet will decide by the end of this month whether to allow Lynas to start refining rare earths on a small scale, while continuing to undertake research on its potential impact on the environment.

Such a pre-operating licence, which would be valid for two years, would limit production while making the company prove that its waste material meets safety standards.

Atomic Energy Licensing Board director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan declined to confirm when it will make a recommendation for this licence, but stressed that Lynas' waste disposal plans have yet to be approved, and no sites have been identified yet.

'The most important thing is that everything should be done according to national and international standards and best practices. We will not compromise on this,' he said.

Plans for the Lynas plant had evoked memories of Malaysia's last rare earth refinery in Perak in the 1980s, whose radioactive waste was believed to have caused several cases of birth defects and leukaemia, necessitating a major environmental clean-up. It was closed in 1992.

Yesterday, the Green Rally 2.0, a coalition of environmental groups, said it will organise another protest after a rally last year was 'blatantly ignored' by the government.

Resident Jade Lee said her family was considering moving out of Pahang if Lynas goes ahead with its waste disposal plans for the island near the state.

'I know several families here who have relocated and have sold everything they own here,' said the statistician. 'We wanted to live here permanently, but this would dash our plans for the future.'
Copyright 2012 Singapore Press Holdings LimitedAll Rights Reserved
The Straits Times Singapore

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Something is really wrong with Lynas !

About 300 people flooded the Pahang Secretariat office this morning to support the final submission.

Anti-Lynas protest against licence issuance

Stephanie Sta Maria | January 26, 2012


Stay Tune for more info !

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Open Letter to Malaysia Government on Lynas Pre-Opt License Application



Related Media Releases 
1) Kuantan MP : Lynas Speaks As If They Are in Cohort with the Malaysian Authorities
2) Consumer Assoc. of Penang(CAP) & Sahabat Alam Malaysia(SAM) : Malaysia Not Adhering to IAEA Recommendations on Lynas
3) Australian Greens MP call on Lynas to come clean about the Controversial Refinary


      Tan Bun Teet, Chairperson, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
      Andansuara Rabu, Chairperson, Stop Lynas Coalition (SLC)
      No. 1, LORONG GALING 12,
      JALAN HAJI AHMAD,
      25300 KUANTAN,
      PAHANG DARUL MAKMUR                                                              13 JANUARY 2012

      To:
1.       Y.B. Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI)
2.       Y.B. Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
3.       Y.M. Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, Director General, Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB)
4.       YH. Dato' Haji Zulkifli Bin Haji Yaacob, Yang DiPertua, Kuantan Municipal Council (MPK)
 
CC:
1.       Mr Yukiya Amano, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
2.       
Y.B. Dato' Sri Douglas Uggah Emabas, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
3.       
Y.B. Dato' Seri Haji Noh Bin Omar, Minister of Agriculture And Agro-Based Industry
4.       
Y.B. Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commoditie 
5.       Y.B. Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism

Re: PUBLIC REVIEW OF THE PRE-OPERATING LICENCE APPLICATION FOR THE LYNAS ADVANCED MATERIAL PLANT

We refer to the radioactive waste management plan (“RWMP”) on display for public viewing in response to an application by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd for a class A license for milling for the LAMP in Gebeng, Pahang.  In view of the complexity of the issues, the risks involved for Malaysia and in the public interest, we hereby request and would appreciate that:
- that a copy of the document is made available to the public to ensure transparency and accountability
- that an extension of time for the review period to be extended for another 4 weeks rather than the existing brief 14 days to review  a plant widely considered to be the world’s largest rare earth refinery.

We would like to draw the attention of your good offices that our Most Honourable Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak has stated time and again that the safety and health and welfare of the people is of the utmost priority of the people – “Rakyat di dahulukan”.

Government’s commitment to the IAEA Recommendations
We specifically note the Government’s stand in accepting in total the recommendations of the IAEA panel’s report dated 30th. June, 2011 entitled “Radiation Safety Aspects of a Proposed Rare Earths Processing Facility (the Lynas Project)” (“IAEA report”) which includes inter alia that Lynas must submit a long term treatment and storage of its waste products. AELB went further by demanding a demonstration of funding of such remedial work before it starts its operations.

The IAEA report recommended that AELB should also “intensify its activities regarding public information and public involvement. In particular, it should:
·         Develop and make available easily understandable information on radiation safety and on the various steps in the licensing and decision making processes;
·         Inform and involve interested and affected parties of the regulatory requirements…
·         Make available, on a routine basis, all information related to the radiation safety of the proposed rare earths processing facility…and ensure that the public knows how to gain access to this information.”

The Government’s adoption of the IAEA recommendations has been widely reported in the media both in Malaysia and internationally. It has especially been cited by Lynas Corporation in Australia.  Lynas has made many public statements admitting to its failure in community consultation previously and has promised to improve on this aspect of the project as per the IAEA recommendation.

However, we are gravely concerned that the Government has imposed very strict conditions to limit public access to the RWMP. The public and various stakeholders are not allowed to make copies of the RWMP on display nor is the RWMP available in soft or hardcopy for a more thorough and in-depth review by relevant independent experts in the national interests.

The review process is far from being accessible and the review period is too brief for the public to make sense of the detail of the application by Lynas.  We have been informed by officials on duty at the various display centres that the RWMP is only to be made available under strict conditions as required and specified by the Lynas Corporation.

Lynas undermining of Malaysia’s Sovereignty and Internal Affairs
As citizens, we are puzzled, shocked and worried at the same time over the power and influence Lynas Corporation exerts on the Malaysian Government to the extend where a foreign corporation is apparently dictating terms on how Malaysia should conduct its business and govern the nation.  As a nation, we have sovereign rights and power to make sound informed decision in the national interest and in the interest of citizens.

Government’s Duty of Care to Exercise Prudence
The Government has a duty of care to exercise prudence to ensure Malaysia’s reputation and standing is upheld.  In the eye of the IAEA and citizens as well as the international community, the Government must NOT compromise our standards and safeguards for the sake of the overzealous commercial interest of a foreign corporation.

The Lynas Advance Materials Plant (LAMP) is a of a scale Malaysia has never dealt with before and Lynas has not operated any rare earth treatment plant previously.  The US Molycorp project has a zero discharge policy and it is piloting the plant in small stages despite its location in a remote and isolated desert area.  There are many serious concerns with the LAMP design, the shonky construction and its location in an environmentally sensitive area.

If a pre-operating licence is issued, it risks jeopardizing our fishery, agriculture (especially oil palm and bird nest) and tourism industries.  None of those sectors has been considered in Lynas’ preliminary impact assessment.  Any further licensing approval for Lynas in the absence of a clear understanding of its impact will be made at the expense of jeopardizing Malaysia’s own Gross Domestic Products as a large majority of the people in Pahang we are directly and indirectly depending on these sectors of the economy for their survival.
The shonky construction of the LAMP as reported in the New York Times in June 2011 has yet to be assessed and rectified through an independent engineering audit.  Building approval of the plant under this circumstance will risk workers, the surrounding factories, our environment and waterways subject to the hazards of the many highly toxic and corrosive as well as radioactive substances which will be used in the plant.  Of utmost concern is the Kuala Balok community who is at the front line of any water pollution and seafood contamination including the dreaded radioactive substances which are likely to be found in the waste water of Lynas and any leakages from the plant which will be washed into the Balok River and the South China Sea.  

The South China Sea is a shared water with our ASEAN neighbours.  It will be very embarrassing for Malaysia and the diplomatic implication is grave if any contamination is detected by our regional neighbours or any major spills occurred due to our own weak governance and mismanagement of the project.

As citizens and as leaders of citizen groups advocating for the community, we would like to know why has the Government been so prepared to forego its own duty of care and compromise Malaysia’s sovereignty simply to rush through an essential public consultation to facilitate a speedy approval for an application from a foreign company.

Surely Malaysia should be demonstrating strong leadership to comply with our commitment to the IAEA to protect its citizens and the country from the risks and hazards of a foreign venture!

Is the Government not concern that the world is watching Malaysia, and that it is essential to show them that we are a responsible modern state with good governance that prioritises our own national interests – our environment and the vital ecosystem services such as clean water, healthy soil and other natural resources which sustain our economy and our citizens?

Each and every ministry and head of agency addressed in this letter is mandated with responsibilities and duty to protect the country and her citizens.  This duty of care has been entrusted by the people who elected this Government.  Failure to carry out these duty and responsibilities will certainly result in serious electoral back clash in the next election.

Lynas has no capacity to compensate beyond its mine life
In the context of the mining industry in Australia, Lynas Corporation is merely a single-project high risk-taking corporation developed based on rare earth speculation utilizing a strong public relation (PR) machinery to boost its stock to attract investment.  It has neither capacity nor asset beyond the mine life of its Mt Weld operations and the market worth of its rare earth oxides to compensate Malaysia for any eventual contamination and health problems like Mitsubishi did for the fallout from its Asian Rare Earth plant.

Lynas Not Walking the Talk
Lynas Corporation Limited (Lynas) has recently step up its PR exercise publicizing and advertising in our media and especially in our local daily newspapers which statements such as:

“Lynas is proud of its health and safety standards…We share a strong set of values at Lynas around open and honest operations, respecting and contributing to the communities in which we live and work. Lynas would like to ensure the community’s concerns are addressed and their questions answered.”

Being a publicly listed Australian, Lynas is well aware that in Australia, it will have to make its waste management plan and licensing application public and accessible by the authorities there.  We can access all of Lynac’ licensing application and the Australian authorities’ approval documents for its Mt Weld operations online.

The Australian Government went further to fund non-government organisations such as the Conservation Councils and the Environmental Defender Office to provide independent support to the local communities to obtain the services of experts to analyse vital and important technical documents.

How is it possible that Lynas comes out so openly to say that Malaysia’s requirements are more stringent than Australia when they at the same time imposing such restrictive access to such a vital and important document like the RWMP, especially when this document is a long-time coming and have not been routinely made available to the public as recommended by the IAEA and agreed to by both the Malaysian Government and Lynas?

Our Stance and requests
We have attended and viewed the RWMP.  We found many crucial areas of the document that warrant greater scrutiny by independent experts in the public and national interests.  We implore your good offices to uphold the commitment made to the IAEA and to the public to release this document to the public and to make it accessible.

Given the complexity and the many areas of disagreements on the Lynas’ proposed waste disposal method, we hereby request for an extension of time for the public review so that the IAEA recommendation on public consultation can be implemented and complied with by your good offices.

Further, we would like an opportunity to be able to present and discuss specific technical concerns arising from our review and analysis of the application BEFORE the AELB Board make its recommendation to Putrajaya for approval for the pre-operating licence.

We would like to take this opportunity to clarify to the Government that as responsible and concern citizens, we are compelled to and will do everything possible to stop a repeat of the problems and tragedy of Bukit Merah in Gebeng.  All we are seeking is a safe and clean future for Malaysia and for our family.  We trust that as fellow citizens and as parents, you will appreciate our concerns and will act accordingly to protect our interests and not that of a foreign firm.

Thanking you in anticipation

Yours sincerely,

Tan Bun Teet                                                              
Chairperson, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) 

Andansura Rabu
Chairperson, Stop Lynas Coalition (SLC)

Lynas Undermining Malaysia's Sovereignty !

 Press statement of the joint press conference January 13, 2012
by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Stop Lynas Coaltion(SLC) on
Lynas Malaysia rare earth refinery application for pre-operation licence

Earlier today, SMSL and SLC alerted the relevant Ministers responsible for MITI, MOSTI and the Head of AELB and MPK in writing of the serious implications of fast tracking the approval process for the LAMP.

“We are totally shocked by the utter impotency and defensive nature of the Government of Malaysia in accepting Lynas’ Radioactive Waste Management Plan (RWMP) under such poor conditions and with such restricted public review process.” Said Mr Tan Bun Teet, Chairperson of SMSL.

If the government issues the pre-operating licence for the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant under its current proposal as set out in the licence application, Malaysia will not be in compliance with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mr Tan added, “Malaysia will be embarrassed internationally for pushing ahead with such a shonky project against our national interest and the advice of the IAEA.”

SMSL and SLC has requested the Government to:

- release the RWMP document for the purpose of more in-depth analysis and review in the public interest in light of the serious implication of the project.
- extend the time period of the review for another 4 weeks rather than the existing brief 14 days to review a plant widely considered to be the world’s largest rare earth refinery outside China.

Mr Andansura Rabu, Chariperson of SLC questioned Lynas’ arrogance and dishonesty,

“How can a foreign corporation so blatantly undermined Malaysia’s sovereignty by dictating to our Government to restrict public access to the RWMP?”

“In Australia, Lynas would be required by law to make its licensing application available for public scrutiny and working to a timeline set by the Government.”

Lynas has widely publicised its commitment to improve on its performance in this very important but overlooked aspect of the project especially to its shareholders and investors as well as customers.  It has also heavily advertised and publicized its commitment to safety and health issues.

“Clearly, Lynas is not walking the talk in Malaysia.” Added Mr Rabu.

SMSL and SLC reiterated their stance to the Government that as responsible and concern citizens, both groups are compelled to and will do everything possible to stop a repeat of the problems and tragedy of Bukit Merah in Gebeng.

SMSL and SLC appeal to the respective Ministers and Heads of agencies to protect and prioritise Malaysian interest above Lynas’ ambition and to make decision as leaders entrusted by citizens to act with responsibility and professionalism as fellow citizens and as parents.

“SMSL and SLC further added that all that both groups are seeking is a safe and clean future for Malaysia and for our family.”Concuded Mr Tan and Mr Andansura Rabu.

A copy of the letter is attached for media reference.
http://savemalaysia-stoplynas.blogspot.com/2012/01/open-letter-to-malaysia-government-on.html