Radioactive shipments to Malaysia could be another Magellan: Greens

Greens MLC Robin Chapple today expressed grave concerns over the proposed shipment of material containing radioactive thorium through Kwinana for processing in Malaysia.

“I am deeply worried that the proposed Lynas Mount Weld operation plans to remove only the bare minimum of thorium from its rare earth product, apparently so as not to trigger special export license requirements for hazardous material,” Mr. Chapple said.

“The current intent is to ship the material in sealed bags which is similar to how Magellan bags its lead when exporting through Fremantle.  Western Australians have seen what can occur when this method is used.”

“I would think that people living along the transport route and the Kwinana community would have something to say about a radioactive substance being shipped through their communities in this manner."

Mr. Chapple has also condemned plans by Lynas to strip out and dump the radioactive material near fishing communities in the Malaysian state of Kuantan, citing widespread community and political opposition in that country to the refine-and-dump proposal.

“I have been in touch with community groups in Malaysia and that country’s press and there is no desire there to see Western Australia’s toxic by-products dumped on local villages. The Member of Parliament for Kuantan has called for any Thorium refined from the exported material to be returned to Australia.”

“Perhaps because of this, the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing has yet to receive a pre-operation licence application from Lynas Corporation.”

“I believe that Lynas needs to look at a process where the thorium does not leave the Mount Weld mine site in the first place.”

“The Greens are seeking clarification from Lynas as to its intentions in this regard and hope to meet with the company shortly do discuss our concerns.”

“The people of Kuantan are watching Western Australia very closely on this.  The Malaysian media and the international media are watching to see if the State and Commonwealth governments make a responsible decision as to how this mine is operated and how its product will be exported.”

“The Barnett Government surely does not want to be complicit in the transport of radioactive materials through Kwinana, having stated repeatedly that he does not wish to see uranium exported from Western Australian ports.”

"I would hope that he does not want to also be complicit in the dumping of radioactive waste in another country.”

“The Premier must take action to compel Lynas to ensure that no thorium leaves the Mt. Weld mine site.”

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

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