Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:35
Protesters outside the annual general meeting of rare earths miner Lynas in Sydney have vowed to maintain their opposition to the company's controversial Malaysian plant.
The small band of 19 Malaysians flew to Australia over the weekend to stage Tuesday's demonstration against the company's rare earths processing plant currently under construction near Kuantan on the country's east coast.
Lynas said it was looking to provide the first source of supply outside of China of rare earths, which were used in a range of products including iPhones, digital TVs and wind turbines.
But the protesters say leaks from the plant could pollute nearby land and waterways and endanger livelihoods in fishing communities.
Holding banners reading, "Shareholders and investors beware", the group chanted "Lynas, Lynas here's our case: We don't want your toxic waste".
"This plant is going to affect the environment and our health," protester Ngkim Poo said.
Mr Poo said the communities had not been properly consulted about the plant, with many only learning of Lynas's project through the international press.
He said the plant had been built on swamp land on the outskirts of town near large swathes of soy farmland.
"What is the compensation that they are going to pay if it damages our land?"
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker told the crowd the fight against the plant would continue.
"Lynas shareholders need to know that the activists will not give up," he said.
After a drawn-out approval process and several legal challenges from locals and activists, Lynas' advanced materials plant has a temporary operating licence.
The delays to first production have forced Lynas to raise $200 million by issuing new shares recently, while its share price recently hit an all-time low of 55 cents, down from $1.165 a year ago.
But Lynas told shareholders on Tuesday it expects production to begin in December.
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