WA Greens MPs support Malaysian community in fight against toxic waste from WA mining company

5 September 2011

Greens MPs Robin Chapple, Lynn MacLaren and Senator Scott Ludlam will meet with Malaysian community leaders from Kuantan, concerned about hazardous waste from Australian rare earths processing.

Australian company Lynas mines rare earths and will export these to Malaysia for processing, creating hazardous waste. The rare earths ore contains thorium, which emits alpha particles.

“The Lynas proposal to process the rare earths ore in Malaysia requires hazardous, radioactive materials to be transported long distances across Australia and Asia. Once in Malaysia the refining process will release a range of heavy metals which will create highly toxic waste.

“The Malaysia environmental laws simply don’t match Australian standards, and the Malaysian community in Kuantan have already suffered serious health impacts from thorium related toxic waste, when Malaysian regulation failed to ensure adequate standards.

“I am very concerned to see this Australian company processing our minerals offshore, effectively exporting toxic wastes,” said Mr Chapple, Greens WA spokesperson on Mining.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren also holds concerns about the rare earth ore which will be trucked through to Fremantle Port.

“The rare earths ore will be trucked through Fremantle as fine powder, in sealed 2 tonne bags. If the powder is inhaled, it is dangerous in a similar way to uranium.

“I’m very concerned that after the Magellan Lead debacle, we’re now looking at trucking radioactive materials through Fremantle.  In the event of a trucking accident this could have very serious consequences – it’s unacceptable to be transporting radioactive materials through Fremantle,” concluded Ms MacLaren, Greens MLC for the South Metropolitan region.

Senator Scott Ludlam has hosted the Malaysian representatives in Canberra and is pursuing the issue of accountability of Western Australian mining companies operating overseas.

“Australian mining companies must adhere to the standards that we expect of them here in Australia. 

“It already appears that Lynas has avoided the full environmental approvals process in Malaysia, and complaints have been lodged about substandard construction at the Lynas plant. it is unacceptable for Lynas to export ore to be processed in Malaysia, and dump toxic waste in Kuantan, avoiding Australian environmental standards.”  said Senator Ludlam.


Robin Chapple MLC and Lynn MacLaren MLC will join with Malaysian community representative at a press conference at Parliament House Perth from 12:15 pm Tuesday 6 September 2011.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255


Go to top