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Press Release 2011/05

IAEA to Organize Expert Review of Rare Earths Mining Project in Malaysia

3 May 2011 | A high-level delegation representing the Malaysian government met IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to discuss assistance to address public concerns in Malaysia about a plan to manufacture rare earth oxides in one of the Malaysian states.

A proposed rare earth processing facility, termed the Lynas Project, has been licensed and is currently under construction to produce "rare earth oxides and carbonates" near Kuantan in Pahang, Malaysia.

In their discussion, Mr. Raja Dato' Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, Director General of the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board, informed Director General Amano that the Malaysian government requested the IAEA to organize an independent panel of international experts to review the radiation health and safety aspects of the Lynas Project.

Director General Amano detailed the support the IAEA will provide the Malaysian government: through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, the Agency will support the international expert mission to review the Lynas Project's compliance with relevant international Safety Standards and Good Practices and to provide an independent expert opinion on the radiological safety aspects of the Lynas Project. This mission is scheduled to depart by 29 May 2011.

The international expert mission's findings will be shared with the competent Malaysian authority, and according to the IAEA's mandate, the Malaysian authorities will make use of the mission's findings as they deem necessary.