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