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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Chinese Papers Play Down Experts’ Positive Remarks On Lynas

While Lynas has always been the headlines in the Chinese language newspaper, we somehow are not surprised that this one, “RARE EARTH EXPERTS IMPRESSED WITH LYNAS FACILITY” didn’t make it to the front page but was reported only on page 5 in Kwong Wah Yit Poh and page 12 in Nanyang Siang Pau.

While other stories on Lynas were followed up with responses and comments from Himpunan Hijau or Save Malaysia Stop Lynas and also some political parties, this one is somehow received with silence.

The story goes that 4 rare earth experts, namely, Alastair S Neill, a leading rare earth expert from Canada, who is also Executive Vice-President of Dacha Strategic Metals, Professor Chun-Hua Yan from Peking University, Christoph Wilhelm from the Karlsruhr Institute of Technology in Germany and Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research LLC from the United States, said that they are impressed with Lynas Corporation’s production facility which is of world class standard. They also added that Lynas Malaysia is a perfect example of the state-of-the-art, probably more smarter plant of its type in the world.

In his talk, Lifton, particularly said that “I do not believe there is a radiation problem, not at all.”

And Wilhelm said that the plant looked safe as everything had been taken into account including its waste residual management.

These foreign experts had visited Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan yesterday in conjunction with the recent International Rare Earth Symposium, organised by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), where Neill was a guest speaker.

Now, we would like to ask those who have made Lynas their ‘life’, why not make a noise about this too? How come these experts’ findings and opinions are not of their interest if they have dedicated their lives to ‘environmental safety’?

Seriously, we wouldn’t be surprised if the anti-Lynas groups would accuse these four experts as being bought by the government or Lynas to say such things. So far, these groups had brushed-off all other experts’ opinions and findings including those from the AELB and IAEA that says Lynas is as safe as any ordinary chemical processing plants.

The Chinese language newspapers have also been singing the same tune. There were times when some of them had actually dedicated a full page for a ‘stop-Lynas campaign’, using the death of a retarded man as a subject, claiming him to be the victim of radioactive exposure caused by a rare earth plant in Perak decades ago. Questioningly, he was the one and only victim and the family could not even prove the cause of his condition or his death.

Whatever it is, it didn’t stop the Chinese newspapers from using his death to pursue their cause that is to stop Lynas. We suspect that these groups must be having problem knowing that Lynas in Malaysia would put China’s monopoly of rare-earth supply in jeopardy. If this inappropriate patriotism towards their ancestors’ motherland isn’t what motivated the fight, then we couldn’t think of anything else.

We can only repeat what one of the experts, Professor Chun Hua-Yan from Peking University said during the visit to Gebeng, “..while China could have the best rare earth technology in the world, the industry, technology and sciences should be developed by all.”

So, there is no need for all the anti-Lynas groups, whatever names they call themselves, to be panic or over-react on Lynas operation. It is about time for them to start putting the interest of Malaysia above their ancestors’ mother-land, China. Stop the over-acting, it’s starting to make people sick.

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