Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

New rare earth mining proposal in Bukit Merah: Double jeopardy for residents!

CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are outraged to learn that the Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Hong Kong company, CVM Minerals Ltd, for a joint-venture exercise to explore and mine rare earth and other potential minerals and related activities at Bukit Merah, near Ipoh.

The Malaysian Government should pay heed to IPCC's findings on the potentials of renewable energy

In light of the recent events with significant impact on combating the global crises of energy security and climate change, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and CAP are pleased that the world is finally taking cognisance of the burgeoning need to curtail the devastating effect of fossil fuels on the environment.

The release of the landmark report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on May 9, 2011, was a cause to celebrate. Having made headlines, the report outlined huge potentials in renewable energies (RE) in weaning the world away from planet heating fossil fuels (see: http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/).

Who is in charge of Lynas? DoE? AELB?

The Lynas plant in Kuantan is unravelling into a nightmare. The Lanthamide concentrates (rare earths) from Australia that Lynas will import into Malaysia contain thorium AND uranium, which the processing in Kuantan will produce massive amount of radioactive wastes.

Further, there appears to be a serious disconnect in the entire review process of the Lynas plant. There seems to be two separate approval processes i.e. the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) under the DoE within the MNRE (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), and the Radiological Impact Assessment (RIA) under the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) within the MOSTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation).

Lynas Review Panel must be reformed

On 14 May, the Minister for the International Trade and Industry (MITI), Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohammed announced the independent panel to review the proposed Lynas rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

Since the review involves environmental and public health and radiation safety issues, concerning a hazardous facility, it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the MITI.

We are thus puzzled why MITI was charged with announcing the review panel members, bearing in mind that a preliminary environmental impact assessment was submitted to the Department of Environment (DoE) in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2008.

Discontinue new rare earth plant in Gebeng

The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are very concerned with the Pahang State Government's decision to go ahead with the proposed rare earth plant in Gebeng despite the fact that this refinery is a disaster waiting to happen.

In 2007, SAM was invited by the Terengganu Government to give a briefing on the dangers of rare earth and SAM’s experience dealing with the exposure of radioactive waste in Bukit Merah, Perak. Following this, the project was rejected by the Terengganu Government.

In the last 3 years, CAP and SAM have objected vehemently to the proposed rare earth plant due to the potential public health and environmental impacts of radioactive and hazardous waste that would be generated.