Malaysia to monitor Aussie rare earths plant

Associated Press SHARE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian authorities say they will appoint an independent monitor to ensure public safety amid protests over its move to approve a rare earths plant by Australian miner Lynas Corp.

The Atomic Energy Licensing Board on Wednesday granted Lynas a two-year license to operate the first rare earths plant outside China in years. Malaysia hopes the $230 million plant will spur growth but public protests have escalated over fears of radioactive contamination.

A group representing villagers and civil groups plans to seek a court order to halt the project.

Agency director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan sought Friday to quell protests, saying an independent monitor would be appointed this month and production would be closely scrutinized.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.