The Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) have declared to continue holding public fora in and outside the area where the rare earths processing plant of Australian miner Lynas Corp is located despite the temporary operating license (TOL) already having been released to the latter.
Japan and Jamaica on Monday have formally launched a pilot project to test the commercial viability of the island's bauxite waste, more known as red mud, for possible rare earth elements.
"There is no project in the world that is 100 per cent accepted by the people, what more in this particular field . . . but, we will continue to engage with them, we will continue to explain," Malaysian national news agency Bernama quoted Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili as saying on Tuesday during the inaugural of the MSC Malaysia Knowledge Workers Development Centre.
He likewise said he would leave to the proper authorities opponents of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) who vowed they will do all possible means to prevent the actual operation of the facility.
Himpunan Hijau last week said their group will block the port in the Malaysian town of Kuantan, where the plant is located, once Lynas starts shipping in from Australia its raw rare earths materials.
The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas movement meanwhile said it will file for a legal injunction to prevent the operation of the rare earths processing plant until all court proceedings have been concluded.
Challengers to the LAMP had strongly contradicted its presence, claiming of environmental and health hazards.
"Based on scientific rules and practices, there is nothing else we can say, except to say that it is safe," the MoSTI minister said.
On Feb. 2, MoSTI, along with the Atomic Energy Licensing Board of Malaysia (AELB), granted the highly coveted TOL, effectively directing Lynas Corp. to advance with its controversial rare earths processing plant in the province of Gebeng, Kuantan.
As expected, this was faced with a deluge of opponents and challengers, most of which went to the High Chambers to file legal proceedings against the plant's owner as well as against MoSTI and the AELB.
But last week, Lynas Corp was finally accorded the highly controversial TOL.
"The rest of the country wants the economy to grow and this is one of the sources of growth for the future," the MoSTI minister said, noting all relevant actions were taken, including setting up a parliamentary select committee to address the issue, before Lynas was granted the license.
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