In huge red block letters set against a white background aimed to draw attention, Lynas Corp started the advertisement by saying, “Everyone is entitled to have questions. We’re committed to continue giving answers.”
“We welcome the community asking questions about the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Malaysia. It’s important to us that the communities we live and work with understand we care about their health and safety, and their environment.
“We know people want to know more so we’re pleased to answer more questions,” it added.
The Australian mining firm then attempted to explain several frequent allegations against its operations, including offering its promise that it complies with all Australian, International and Malaysian standards.
“... and that’s the way it should be. It should also be known that many Malaysian standards are equivalent to, or exceed international standards,” it said.
It added that LAMP meets “rigorous regulations” in water treatment, emissions and storage and handling of waste.
On possible air emissions, Lynas Corp explained that it handles materials with very low levels of radiation, a key concern among Kuantan residents, adding that the materials were classified as “safe, non-toxic and non-hazardous”.
“There is no significant exposure or health risk from emissions to air. To demonstrate this, Lynas has installed specialised air monitoring equipment on site and in town,” it assured.
The company also addressed concerns on waste disposal, saying it would handle and store all materials on site.
“These are just some of the questions we’ve been asked. There are many more.
“Lynas is committed to answering these questions openly and honestly. You can find out more at lynasandmalaysia.com,” the advertisement concluded.
The website, set up recently, also includes a host of other explanations on Lynas’s LAMP operations, aiming to alleviate fears raised by Kuantan folk.
The controversial RM1.5 billion LAMP being built in the prime minister’s home state of Pahang is now said to be more than 85 per cent complete and is expected to power up by early next year.
The rare earth refinery, touted to be the biggest in the world, aims to break China’s near-complete stranglehold of the minerals required to manufacture high-technology products like hybrid cars, smartphones to bombs.
But public protests by local residents and environmental groups over the possible radioactive hazard posed by the plant this year put the brakes on Lynas’s plans.
The outcry prompted a review by a nine-man panel of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who instructed the Sydney-based company to provide a better long-term waste management plan.
Putrajaya, which imposed tighter environmental safety standards on the proposed plant in June following the high-profile protests, has yet to issue a pre-operating licence for the plant.