KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Four Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) members were detained by the police in Perak today on their way to a protest against Vale’s iron ore processing plant in Lumut.
S. Nagenteran, Patrick Vincent, Alexis Paul Raj and Choo Chon Kai were stopped at a roadblock just 3km from the protest venue in Teluk Rubiah, Lumut, according to organisers of the rally.
They were released an hour later, after police took down their personal details and mobile numbers.
Organisers said the “Save Teluk Rubiah” rally, held at the site of the Vale plant, attracted over 300 protestors.
Vale, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the world’s largest iron ore mining and processing company.
The rally was organised by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Perak (CCCP) to raise public awareness of the economic and environmental impact of the RM4 billion iron ore plant.
This is the second billion-ringgit project this year which has faced stiff resistance from locals, after residents of Kuantan effectively forced the delay of Australian miner Lynas Corp’s rare earth refinery there on concerns of radiation pollution.
Vale is spending RM4 billion in the first phase of the project, which will handle 30 million tonnes of iron ore yearly once completed in 2014.
The hub in Lumut, Perak will be able to accommodate Chinamax carriers, which are 400,000-tonne iron ore vessels that will cut freight costs for Vale.
Perak lies along the Straits of Malacca, a global shipping lane through which 30 per cent of China’s iron ore imports and 80 per cent of its oil shipments are transported.