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Lynas left holding the baby

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If Lynas Corporation thinks that Western Australia will take its radioactive waste, it can think again, asserts Robin Chapple.

Lynas has now submitted an application to the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), to import radioactive waste from Malaysia,” an Australian High Commission spokesman told The Malaysian Insider today.

This revelation beggars belief as just a few days ago a two-year temporary licence to operate was granted to Lynas, who intend to ship radioactive ores through Fremantle Port to export them to their plant in Malaysia, now seem to be asserting that they should be able to import the wastes of those ores back onto Australian soil.

Malaysia’s nuclear regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had said that the Australian miner was legally bound to remove radioactive waste from its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) and return the residue to Australia under conditions of the temporary operating licence. However, this news flies in the face of Australian government policy, and indeed Western Australian legislation, which asserts that Australia does not accept or import radioactive waste from other countries.

Robin Chapple MLC, Greens spokesperson for Mining Issues, commented on Lynas’ recent move:

“It seems that again Lynas thinks it is outside the law as it is operating in Malaysia, and may be subject to less rigorous legal scrutiny. Well, it isn’t, and if it thinks that Western Australia will take this radioactive waste, it can think again.

“It didn’t consult with community on shipping its radioactive ores through Fremantle port, and it certainly hasn’t consulted on shipping back the radioactive waste. The WA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 prohibits it here. Period!

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But really, you have to laugh. Lynas has now been tripped up by its own lack of willingness to take heed of Australia’s expectations with respect to sustainable mining and environmental, social and legal standards, and hasn’t it got it’s come-uppance. Talk about being left holding the baby!

To quote the great Michael Franks, ‘And i’m blamin’ you ‘Cause now I’m all dressed up and I got Nowhere to go.’”

Source: robinchapple.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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17 Sep 2012 10.59pm

Lynas is shipping the ore to be processed in Malaysia because it’s much cheaper to do so than keep them in Australia. In addition to the cheaper labor, the Malaysian government provided Lynas with so many tax cuts that it became a no brainer to do it in Malaysia. The Lynas plant will create many job opportunities and will be a boon to the local economy.
All the experts have asserted that the plant is safe and the radioactivity level is less than that of metal detector or a MRI.
This issue has become purely political! If the Lynas plant doesnt go through all Foreign Direct Investments will be affected. Do you want this for your economy?
And by the way, am neither from Australia nor an investor..

18 Sep 2012 10.41am
Reply to  Ramzi

So if you are not from Australia, where are you from? Must be from somewhere far away from Malaysia, carefree in the knowledge that you will not be affected.

So if you are not an investor, what are you? Another pro-Lynas propaganda boy?

Of course the issue has become very political. This project was bulldozed through without any meaningful prior consultation with the local community.

The only future FDI that will be affected are the dirty industries that will think twice about coming here. And we can do without them, thank you very much.

17 Sep 2012 12.23pm

If it is so safe, go build the plant in your backyard/in Australia. We don’t want it here.

ocean man
ocean man
17 Sep 2012 10.29am

less than 2 Bequerels/gram of radiation is considered non-radioactive, so why the upset man?

It’s below IAEA limits, so why the hoo ha? Maybe it keeps your name in the papers? Maybe you can scare donors into donating more to your bogus crusade?

The whole Green agenda is scaring the daylights out of everyone. Give us the facts without the BS, Mr. anti-propaganda….

16 Sep 2012 3.02pm

I’m really sorry but you are incorrect. WA has not yet been asked to import radioactive ‘waste’. Australia is one of the biggest producers of uranium and other materials far more hazardous that the Lynas concentrate. You’re using a Chinese rare earth production model which is 15 years old or more – the kind which of course which caused terrible localized ecological harm. However, the Gebeng plant is about as far removed from that as it could possibly be. My great grandmother used to go around our house plugging electrical plugs into sockets – for fear that the electricity would ‘leak’ out of the wall sockets. You seem to be taking the same viewpoint – on something you are unwilling and apparently unable to overstand.

15 Sep 2012 9.40pm

Can someone give the the quote from the Appropriate Australian Authority that says they have rejected LYNAS residue/product… Please NOT some stupid rehash of some act. If you can not, one can continue to assume it is another one of those great Fuziah flip flop flip flop double twist turns through her PR supported media.

17 Sep 2012 12.22pm
Reply to  LOL

Hey bud,

The burden of proof is not on us. But on those supporting the plant which is producing the waste. Typical twist from the pro-Lynas propaganda boys in Australia and elsewhere.

The plant is producing radioactive waste so if you, as a propaganda boy, want to defend the plant, then YOU jolly well show us the quote/approval from the Australian authorities allowing the company to import the waste back to Australia.

Nice try.

15 Sep 2012 6.10pm

The Anti Lynas brigade will now try to dig up any kind of misinformation that they can. They know all their efforts have come to nothing and all experts and all investigations into Lynas have proven that Lynas has been correct all along.

All they have done is shown the world that you should not try to invest in Malaysia otherwise you will face obstacle after obstacle. The business world is watching Malaysia I’m sure, and not liking what they see.

15 Sep 2012 6.38pm
Reply to  Mark

Sigh, another propaganda boy (from Australia?) The only “brigade” here are the desperate pro-Lynas propaganda boys (from Australia, I presume).

So is the Western Australian government stupid for not accepting the radioactive waste from Lynas?

Yes, you should not invest in Malaysia if you want to dump your radioactive waste in a ‘third world’ country. Let the ‘business world’ watch and learn this lesson. The culprits will surely not like what they see, you are right about that.

15 Sep 2012 8.06pm

What has all this got to do with propaganda or anti-propaganda? This is about facts.

And I wish you would get yours right. The Western Australian government HAS NOT said it will not accept radioactive waste from Lynas. An application has only just been submitted to the government and that will take time to go through due process. Please stop being so desperate that you distort facts in your argument.

Interesting though that this so called ‘radioactive’ ore is still allowed through the WA ports to be processed in Malaysia in the first place. Maybe it’s not toxic afterall.

17 Sep 2012 12.20pm
Reply to  Mark

Hello mate

You want to talk about facts? So tell us factually where you are from. I notice you haven’t denied you are a propaganda boy in Australia.

It has everything to do with propaganda coming from Australia and outside our shores trying to mould public opinion here into accepting radioactive waste while the owners and shareholders of the plant, far away from our shores, sit back and enjoy what they hope will be fat profits.

Modern day economic colonialism, right? Typical case of taking advantage of “third world” nations where environmental enforcement is lax, right?

Christina Macpherson
15 Sep 2012 6.57am

It’s Lynas’ own fault. They could have been smart, like Globe Metals and Mining, who are sending their rare earths to China for reprocessing. China, having learned the hard way, is now the expert on rare earths reprocessing. Lynas didn’t bother to take note of Malaysia’s disastrous history.
Unfortunately, rare earths are needed, even for the cleaner, renewable energy technologies. Preferable to nuclear power, but still, disposal of end radioactive wastes is a challenge.

15 Sep 2012 6.30am

We’ve been mining uranium for donkey’s years and it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Why so much hatred against mining rare earths?
They are nowhere near as radioactive as uranium.
Is it some sort of “toll poppy syndrome” in Oz?
Is it Malaysian revenge for Keating calling their boy “recalcitrant”?
Is it chinese interests removing the competition?
Or is it just an opportune issue for some low caliber politicians to achieve notoriety?
Anyway, I have my entire superannuation invested in Lynas. If you turn me into a beggar in my old age – may you rot in hell, Robin Chapple.

15 Sep 2012 3.13pm
Reply to  John

Hey bud, you should have thought of that before you invested your fortune in Lynas.

Poor foresight that. Didn’t they teach you in Investment 101 not to put all your eggs in one basket?

A (greedy) fool and his money are soon parted.

Don’t blame Robin for your foolishness!

ocean man
ocean man
15 Sep 2012 4.37am

If the material falls below the international limits for radioactivity, why would Lynas have to file for permits?

The whole anti-Lynas campaign is a lie for political purposes.

15 Sep 2012 3.17pm
Reply to  ocean man

So which country are you from? Why are you so interested in the dumping of toxic waste in Malaysia and not in your own country? Please ask your government to accept the waste if it is so harmless.

15 Sep 2012 4.03pm

Chinese are doing just that … dumping toxic waste in their own country. Doesn’t seem to be harming anyone 🙂
And they are making a fortune from their monopoly in rare earths processing.

And they will use all the tricks at their disposal to kill off any competition. Thirty percent of Malaysian population are ethic chinese. They know where their loyalty lies.
Some well placed scare campaign and stirring the local population will go a long way in protecting the interests of motherland China.

15 Sep 2012 4.31pm
Reply to  John

So pray tell, why isn’t the Australian government willing to accept the toxic waste?

Don’t try and spin a racial angle into the anti-Lynas protest in Malaysia. The protest cuts across all ethnic groups worried about their well-being.

That’s a pathetic attempt to discredit the multi-ethnic grassroots protest. But then again, that’s really not surprising coming from the desperate pro-Lynas propaganda boys outside the country.

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