KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended the Lynas rare earth plant, saying "mining and extracting of rare earth from Malaysian earth will not harm us in anyway".
The former prime minister wrote in his blog recently that the refining process at Lynas would not involve activating rare earth elements to make them radioactive, but to extract the elements to be used in making lithium ion batteries and magnets.
"Lithium ion batteries are extensively used to power electronic products, including mobile phones." "We carry in our pockets and use mobile phones all the time, putting them against our ears to hear and speak over the airwaves. Obviously, they are not harmful," he said.
This was different, he said, from the process used in Perak where harmful radiation had been caused by ilmenite, an activated rare earth produced by tin tailings.
He said the processed waste produced at Lynas would not emit radiation either as it was just ordinary earth, mixed with small amounts of rare earth. "The necessity to export the waste does not arise." he said.
Date: Thursday, 24 May 2012
Resource: The New Straits Times, Page: 7