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Mara Corp. tells global rare-earth players Lynas is here to stay

Akhram (right) during the signing of the MoU with Lynas Malaysia managing director Datuk Mashal Ahmad (left) on Monday.

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – November 7, 2019: Lynas is here to stay.

This is the guarantee by Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, the sole Malaysian speaker at the Metal Events Ltd 16th International Rare Earth Conference here today.

Lending credence to his claim, Akhramsyah, who is the chairman of Mara Corporation, quoted Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s assurance of Lynas Corporation continuing operation in Malaysia.

One of Mahathir’s statements was as follows:

“Lynas wishes to invest more in Malaysia. And it’s a big investment running into billions. We can’t afford to ask them to go away. The waste is not dangerous, the radiation is very minimal. We have to tell the public the truth. The problem is some people keep harping on something that is not real. There is no danger.”

The memorandum of understanding that Mara Corporation – the investment arm of government agency Majlis Amanah Rakyat – had signed with Lynas on Monday, was also cited by Akhram as another example of Malaysia’s commitment in the rare-earth industry.

“In fact, Lynas was initially identified not just as a strategic project but seen as a high-impact project. It’s a high impact project that hasn’t been fully realised since it started its operations.”

All eyes were on Lynas since the Pakatan Harapan coalition won Malaysia’s national poll last year due to policy disputes over the company’s waste management. It was only last August that the government gave the company a conditional green-light to continue its operation.

Lynas is a key player in the rare-earth industry given that it is the largest manufacturer outside of China, which has a stranglehold over global output at about 80 per cent.

“We are industry friendly. It has always been the previous and current governments’ intention that if Lynas is here, it is not supposed to stand alone,” said Akhramsyah.

“We do not want them to just come and have their processed rare-earth shipped away. We would like to have the magnet makers, the metal makers and other downstream businesses to be here and we also welcome other rare-earth processors,” he added.

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Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.