Australia's Lynas fires up Malaysian plant

An activist wears a headband in protest against Australia's Lynas Corp rare-earth plant during a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 26, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Australian miner Lynas Corp today said it had begun processing rare earths at a controversial new plant in Malaysia after being delayed for more than a year due to public opposition over health fears.

Lynas earlier this month cleared a final hurdle when a court gave the go-ahead for the company to fire up the US$800 million (S$ 980 million) plant in the eastern state of Pahang despite residents' and activists' fears over radioactive waste.

"This is a significant milestone for Lynas," the Sydney-listed company's chairman Nicholas Curtis said in a statement on the plant's start-up.

He said the long-delayed start of operations would now "provide real data that will assure people that the LAMP (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant) is entirely safe for our local communities and the environment."

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