Lynas sues news portal, protest groups for defamation
KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Lynas Corp has filed a defamation suit against online news portal Free Malaysia Today for “false and misleading statements” in a recently published article.
The Australian mining group is also suing Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas’s (SMSL) directors and committee members over an open letter published on the group’s web site.
“Lynas has and will engage legal representation to take action against people who publish defamatory statements or misinformation about Lynas or its operations,” Lynas executive chairman Nicholas Curtis said in a statement today.
“We are concerned that these defamatory statements instil misplaced fear and anxiety in the general public about our safe operations,” he said.
He also reiterated that Lynas’s operations would be safe and would comply with the environmental, health and safety standards as set by Malaysia’s laws and audited by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Lynas has faced fierce protests from Kuantan residents and opposition politicians who say that the RM2.5 billion rare-earth refinery in nearby Gebeng will cause radiation pollution despite the Sydney-based firm insisting it has met and exceeded local and international safety standards.
They have repeatedly questioned why Lynas did not set up its refinery in Australia and or the originally-planned location in Terengganu, claiming the move was due to concerns over radiation standards.
But Lynas insists its rare-earth residue would emit only “very low level radiation” and could be reprocessed into non-hazardous material for road building.
Local regulators Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had said in January it would approve a TOL subject to added conditions including identifying a suitable long-term waste disposal site.
Lynas had said last month that identifying this site “is a work in progress.” It also said prior to AELB’s decision that a permanent depository facility (PDF) will only be needed in a “worst-case scenario” where it is unable to reprocess the waste into a commercial product.