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Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

Greens misleading over rare earths: Lynas

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Unfortunately your article ‘Greens senators slam lunatic budget’ by Hans Lovejoy on May 19 contained factual inaccuracies and misleading statements in both the questions posed and the answers given, which may mislead your readers about Lynas operations and the safety of the rare earths.

Contrary to the statement that Lynas was forced to shift its operations to Malaysia owing to opposition from ‘all political parties’, Lynas possessed regulatory approvals to build its refining operations in Australia and has received support from the major political parties.

Instead, Lynas decided to locate its refining process in a Malaysian industrial park owing to access to the abundant supply of electricity, water, relevant technical expertise and chemical inputs for the refining process that were not readily or competitively available in the Western Australian desert.

Senator Ludlam’s statement that Lynas’s rare earths are radioactive sludge shipped in plastic bags is misleading. The radioactivity in Lynas’s rare earths is so low that it is prevented by transport regulations from applying a radioactive placard to the load. If every product that was radioactive required similar treatment, then bananas, stone benchtops and garden fertilisers would require similar signage.

The rare earths are not a sludge, but are shipped in a cake form to prevent dust emissions (as part of Lynas’s zero-harm commitment). And instead of being shipped in ‘plastic bags’ they are shipped in fit-for-purpose, double-lined HDPE bags inside a shipping container.

Any finally, Malaysia’s previous issue with rare earths stemmed the refining of tin-mining waste, which created residues with radioactivity levels 45–100 times higher than the Lynas material.

Our company is happy to accept scrutiny of our operations, but not misinformation that misleads your readers.

Lynas stands by the safety of its product and its operations, and is proud of the role rare earths play in the development of green technologies such as more efficient wind turbines and hybrid car batteries.

Alan Jury, executive vice president corporate affairs, Lynas Corporation

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  1. As typical, Senator Ludlam and people associated with him continue to quote incorrect information, distort facts, and refuse to deal with reality when it comes to things nuclear. Having worked in the nuclear industry in Australia I have seen indirectly, and directly by some of my former colleagues Senator Ludlam’s extent to which he goes to push his (inaccurate and often grossly wrong) green agenda. On a visit to a radioactive waste installation all he was interested in was a rust spot on a drum, not on learning how the overall process is well managed. I have seen this with other anti- nuc politicians I have shown the same areas.One such poly spent all his time on his mobile phone, not listening and learning like the other politicians with open minds. They simply do not want to hear or learn the truth. It was a pity to see Senator Ludlam scrape back in with the botched West Australian senate election. We have to spend more time putting the record straight from such comments as in the article above.


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