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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reveal details of rare earth venture, Zambry urged

An MP wants the Perak government to explain the deal it signed with a Hong Kong-based company for the proposed mining of rare earth in Bukit Merah.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Perak government should reveal the details of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) it signed with a Hong Kong-based company over the proposed rare earth venture, Batu Gajah MP, Fong Po Kuan, said today.

“We don’t need this kind of so-called investment or any sort of investment which will put the people’s lives, health or the environment at risk,” she told FMT.

She was commenting on a FMT report that the state and the Hong Kong company, Commerce Venture Manufacturing (CVM) Minerals Ltd, had inked a deal in relation to “the establishment of a joint venture in Malaysia for the purposes of the exploration and mining of rare earth and other potential minerals and activities” in Bukit Merah.

Fong urged Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir to explain the deal, reminding him of the Mitsubishi Chemicals’ Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant set up in Bukit Merah.

The ARE plant was shut down in 1992 after years of strong protest. Residents in Bukit Merah blamed the rare earth refinery for birth defects and leukemia cases in the community. Mitsubishi Chemicals is still cleaning up the place.

“The government should have learnt its lesson,” Fong said.

Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham also opposed the proposed latest joint venture with the Hong Kong company.

“There is nothing wrong with mining rare earth in itself; what we are concerned about is the impact on the environment, the disposal of radioactivity waste and by-products, and whether the processing of the rare earth will done here.”

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