To: The Australian government

Stop Australian Company Lynas

Stop Australian Company Lynas

Dear Minister please stop the dumping of toxic materials in Malaysia as well put at risk thousands of Australians' lives at risk. The reasons are below:

According to Lynas the foundation of their rare earth strategy ‘is Mount Weld in Western Australia, the richest known deposit of Rare Earths in the world, and a state-of-the art Rare Earths processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), currently under construction near Kuantan in Pahang, Malaysia. Production is scheduled for third quarter of 2011.”. Investors in the LAMP include Mitsubishi and Siemens.

The Mount Weld rare earth deposit is located 35 kilometres south of Laverton in the Northern Goldfields, Western Australia and is the richest known deposit of Rare Earth in the world.

On 7 March 2011 Lynas also completed the acquisition of the Kangankunde Rare Earths Resource in Malawi, Africa. There are concerns that the ore from the Kangankunde Carbonatite Complex (KGK) in Malawi may be higher than the Australian ore. Malawian ore would also be likely to be sent to Malaysia increasing the concerns amongst residents regarding radioactive waste.

In April 2011 Lynas Corporation was the second largest shareholder (7.87%) in Northern Uranium Pty Ltd a uranium and rare earth exploration company. The largest shareholder of Northern Uranium is Chinese based Conglin Lue with 17.61%.

Nicholas Anthony Curtis has been a director of Lynas Corporation since 28 June 2001.

Are Rare Earth Elements (REE) are seventeen elements form the group known as the Rare Earth Elements (REEs): the 15 lanthanides, yttrium, and usually scandium.

Rare earth elements are actually relatively abundant in the earth’s crust, but are not often concentrated in mineable deposits, and are almost always found in conjunction with significant radioactivity. Therefore, these elements are “rare” mostly because of the difficulty associated with economically extracting them.

Due to lax environmental laws China has built a monopoly in the rare earth market controlling over 90% of the world’s rare earth minerals. Due to severe environmental issues China has begun to mitigate the damage from production of rare earths by shutting down small operations and raising standards as well as restricting exports meaning potential supply problems of rare earth’s. This has driven Western companies, like Lynas Corporation, to produce on their deposits.

China’s restriction on rare earth exports has had a dramatic effect on the price of rare earths which are becoming increasingly valuable as they are used in electronic equipment like computers, mobile phones and “green” technology including wind turbines and hybrid cars. Other uses include medical devices, and military applications such as missiles, jet engines, and satellites.

Whilst Rare Earth’s are required for a variety of “green” technologies including wind turbines and hybrid/electric cars both the extraction and processing of rare earths has significant environmental risks in its potential for the spread of radioactive material and toxic chemicals, and the acidification of watersheds.

Their use effectively assists in relieving one type of environmental strain, climate change, while risking another, in a complicated risk/benefit relationship.

Rare Earth elements are almost always found in conjunction with radioactivity, meaning that all the waste streams from mining (water, rock, and air pollution) can create a radioactive hazard. Although rare earths are not radioactive, in nature they are usually found mixed with thorium. A concern at the site of mining rare earths is radioactive waste water spills as experienced in both the United States and China. The largest rare earth mine in the world, near Baotou in China has significant problems with water and air pollution.

In addition to the direct impacts of mining such as the footprint of the mine and the problems with radioactivity, the processing of rare earths requires a number of intensive steps, often using toxic chemicals and acids and results in radioactive Thorium as a by-product. The processing of Lynas rare earth ore at their Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Malaysia raises serious health, environmental and economic concerns for local communities and their livelihoods.

We in Australia should not be contributing to such environmental pollution; we cannot allow companies like Lynas to proceed with such actions. This is a democracy and we believe in respecting people's opinions. Although the Malaysian government may have allowed this company to dump toxic wastes into Malaysia, the people of Malaysia do not want this to happen. We cannot allow this action to proceed. We would like your government to stop thsi dumping

Why is this important?

On August 4th 2011 Australian company Lynas Corporation officially opened its Mt Weld rare earth mine in Western Australia. Lynas wants to export 33,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrates through the port of Fremantle in Western Australia to the port of Kuantan in Malaysia to their polluting, energy intensive an highly controversial processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP). The LAMP is scheduled to start operations by the end of 2011 but it is being vehemently opposed by thousands of people in Malaysia.

For more information please visit http://stoplynas.org/

Seventeen elements form the group known as the Rare Earth Elements (REEs): the 15 lanthanides, yttrium, and usually scandium.

Rare earth elements are actually relatively abundant in the earth’s crust, but are not often concentrated in mineable deposits, and are almost always found in conjunction with significant radioactivity. Therefore, these elements are “rare” mostly because of the difficulty associated with economically extracting them.

Due to lax environmental laws China has built a monopoly in the rare earth market controlling over 90% of the world’s rare earth minerals. Due to severe environmental issues China has begun to mitigate the damage from production of rare earths by shutting down small operations and raising standards as well as restricting exports meaning potential supply problems of rare earth’s. This has driven Western companies, like Lynas Corporation, to produce on their deposits.

China’s restriction on rare earth exports has had a dramatic effect on the price of rare earths which are becoming increasingly valuable as they are used in electronic equipment like computers, mobile phones and “green” technology including wind turbines and hybrid cars. Other uses include medical devices, and military applications such as missiles, jet engines, and satellites.

Whilst Rare Earth’s are required for a variety of “green” technologies including wind turbines and hybrid/electric cars both the extraction and processing of rare earths has significant environmental risks in its potential for the spread of radioactive material and toxic chemicals, and the acidification of watersheds.

Their use effectively assists in relieving one type of environmental strain, climate change, while risking another, in a complicated risk/benefit relationship.

Rare Earth elements are almost always found in conjunction with radioactivity, meaning that all the waste streams from mining (water, rock, and air pollution) can create a radioactive hazard. Although rare earths are not radioactive, in nature they are usually found mixed with thorium. A concern at the site of mining rare earths is radioactive waste water spills as experienced in both the United States and China. The largest rare earth mine in the world, near Baotou in China has significant problems with water and air pollution.

In addition to the direct impacts of mining such as the footprint of the mine and the problems with radioactivity, the processing of rare earths requires a number of intensive steps, often using toxic chemicals and acids and results in radioactive Thorium as a by-product. processing of Lynas rare earth ore at their Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Malaysia raises serious health, environmental and economic concerns for local communities and their livelihoods.

In spite of the risks and massive opposition, the Malaysian government had agreed to host the plant offering Lynas a speedy process and a 12-year tax holiday.

The Save Malaysia! Stop Lynas! movement have taken this protest across Malaysia and to Australia. They have been outraged by the lack of information and the hasty and inadequate approval process by the Malaysian Government and the arrogance of Lynas to dump huge amounts of toxic and radioactive waste on their lives and livelihoods.

Touted as the largest rare earth refinery, the LAMP will use 720 tons of concentrated Hydrochloride Acid (sulphuric acid) per day and leave behind 28,000 tonnes of solid waste per year, enough to fill 126 olympic size swimming pools. A by-product of this waste is radioactive Thorium (Th) which is dangerous to human health.

There are approximately 700,000 people living within 30 km from the LAMP and it is located near coastal tourist resorts and an environmentally sensitive fishery area. Construction of the plant has begun in secrecy and ahead of proper environmental and waste management plan.

Community in Malaysia are calling for Australian citizens, environmentalists, unionists, health professionals, business people and politicians to get behind the Stop Lynas! Campaign and stop Lynas Corporation from proceeding with their rare earth plant (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant-LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan.