KUALA LUMPUR — July 4, 2019: A high-level round table on the future of rare-earth industry in Malaysia, which currently houses the only significant rare-earth mineral producer outside China, will be held here on July 10.
In a statement today, the organiser of the meeting, the Malaysian Global Business Forum said the discussion, involving policy makers and other stakeholders, will focus on charting strategic direction of the industry’s future.
Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and Mara Corporation chairman Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi will be among the main speakers at the event.
“We need to develop the right ecosystem to ensure the success and high value local participation in future high-tech government’s initiatives such as in aerospace industry and the third national car project,” said Akhramsyah, who is also an energy economist.
“We look forward to building on the already significant Bumiputera participation in the rare-earth processing through Lynas Corporation Limited where more than 90 per cent of the staff are Malays, including technologists and operators at the cutting edge of the sciences involved,” he added.
Rare-earths are essential inputs to the automotive industry, especially in electric vehicles. They are also crucial in electronics, oil and gas as well as renewable energy industries.
The global rare-earth industry has recently came under the spotlight due to the trade war between the United States and China as the latter has a near monopoly in the rare-earth market, producing over 80 per cent of global output.
Last week, Japan has renewed its funding of Lynas by 10 years -a decision in which the company said has given certainty for its further downstream operations.
The loan from Japan came a month after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad explicitly gave Lynas the greenlight to continue its operations in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir’s remark had put a clarity on Lynas’ fate in Malaysia as the company was previously caught between clashing directives from the government over residue disposal issues.