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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lynas to be relocated?


Lynas will be relocated. New site unknown.

That's the info I got when I was at the PM Dept on Monday. Don't ask me who. As a journalist, I was trained to protect my informer (hahaha!) but the info has to be of a Grade A material.

"No letter (from PM or the Cabinet). Only an instruction to Pahang MB Adnan (via his top officer) to work it out. Relocate (Lynas) elsewhere. Bla... bla... bla (politics). Adnan to work things out on the ground, find a more suitable and objection-free site."

But where else would be a more suitable site and free from the opposition? Gunung Tahan? A no-people island? Or shift it back to Australia?

(There were also questions - if its safe enough, why have it on our compound and not Down Under itself where land is abundant?) I told them this is a big investment, meant to put Malaysia on the world map, provides jobs for the locals and helps boost our economy. After all, it is declared safe!

I am not sure as to whether Adnan has or was already discussing the matter with his officers. If a new site is agreed upon, it will be back to the PM's desk and the Cabinet to accept it. However, a few will be the best options.

But after 'scanning' Pahang's map (thanks Google), I can't find any area of 'no orang'. Unless we choose Pulau Bidong in Terengganu (the Hai Hong refugess had long ago left it) or a few islands off Sabah coast.

However, we still cannot avoid Anwar Ibrahim and his gang. How about shifting the plant to one of Pakatan states? Kelantan, for instance. But if we keep on bowing to the Opposition, nothing can be done to develop the country, right?

We need such an investment. While countries like Australia and China are fast becoming the key players for rare earth products - to the extent that other countries are seeking solace in them - we need to keep up with the pace.

No untoward incident such as radioactive emission was reported from any of such plants around the world. While the plant in Gebeng has been given a clean slate by the IAEA, the only unsettled issue is finding a dump site for its wastage. Its a small problem.

Amid a global supply shock for critical hi-tech inputs, Australia is looming as a unique source for such materials. Widely used in modern communications and entertainment devices, the once obscure market for rare earth materials has experienced a dramatic tightening over recent years.

In the face of rising demand, China, the world's dominant supplier, has imposed export restrictions. Subsequently, prices have surged 10-fold on average and, in response, pioneering Australian companies are poised to fill the deficit.The most advanced is Lynas Corporation (LYC), which commands a valuation north of $2 billion as first product from Mount Weld in Western Australia nears reality. Another local rare-earths leader, Alkane Resources (ALK), has delivered a fivefold investment return as it develops a 100-year mining operation in Dubbo, New South Wales.
At a much earlier stage of development, the coming float of Tabora aims to mirror their success. The company has procured a portfolio of exploration licences covering 753sq km in the East African nation of Tanzania. As the projects are absent of proven mineral resources, float proceeds from Tabora's listing are flagged for exploration.
There is also a similar plant in Tabora, Tanzania.

So, to relocate Lynas or not, is not the issue. What's important is, we need such investments!

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