The usage of rare earth in green technologyRare Earths are playing a pivotal role ingreenhouse gas reduction through theirunique application in hybrid vehicles, andenergy efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Rare earth magnets are used in wind turbines. Some large turbines require two TONS of rare earth magnets. These magnets are very strong and make the turbines highly efficient. Rare earth magnets are used in turbines and generators in many alternative energy applications
Rare earth & Radioactivity• The mining of the rare earths and the processing of the various elements produces large amounts of thorium as a by-product. This material is radioactive and dangerous to human health• in Chine, lax environmental laws have allowed the country to build a monopoly in the market. However, now the country is looking to mitigate environmental damage from the production of rare earths, shutting down small mining operations, and raising environmental standards.
The Mitsubishi insident Lai Kwan prepares to bathe her son, Cheah Kok Leong, who was born with severe mental disabilities. She believes that his condition is related to the radioactive exposure she received while working at the Mitsubishi Chemical’s refinery in Bukit Merah. By KEITH BRADSHER Published: March 8, 2011 (sources new york times)Rahman Roslan for The New York Times There are already a rare earth mining opened in malaysia before which located at Bukit Merah by Asian Rare Earth owned by Mitsubishi company. Below are the effects that the resident there suffers : Residents blamed a rare earth refinery for birth defect and eight leukemia cases within five years in a community of 11,000 — after many years with no leukemia cases. Seven of the leukemia victims have since died. Osamu Shimizu, the director of Asian Rare Earth, the Mitsubishi Chemical subsidiary that owns the mine, declined to discuss details of the factory’s operation before it closed in 1992.
• Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Lynas) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lynas Corporation Ltd of Australia. Its business is the production and sale of rare earth ores and related by-products.• In Malaysia, Lynas plans to import rare earth ore from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia, truck it to the port of Fremantle, send it by container ship to Kuantan, and process it at the Gebeng Industrial Estate in Pahang.• At Gebeng, the Lynas plant will extract rare earth minerals from the ore. Most of this will be for export. Lynas says waste (residue) from the refinery will be used to make products which will be made safe and can be sold commercially, or stored in safe and secure containers in specially prepared sites.• Lynas says it chose to locate its plant at the Gebeng site because of: 1 > It is close to Kuantan port 2 > Gas, water and chemical supplies are readily available 3 > Skilled workers are also available
Manufacturing License On 22 January 2008, Lynas was given a manufacturing licence to produce “rare earth oxides and carbonates” at Gebeng Industrial Estate, Kuantan. The approval was given subject to a number of conditions, in particular, the need to comply with the safety provisions of the: – i. Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 – ii. Environmental Quality Act 1974.
Compliance status Lynas began planning and construction of its plant at Gebeng Industrial Estate, Pahang soon after obtaining its manufacturing licence. The overall site construction progress at the end of Q3 2011 was 78% complete.
• However, many members of the public – including residents, non- governmental committees and professional bodies – expressed concern that the Lynas project was not safe, and was a threat to public health and safety.
On 22 April, 2011, the Government responded to these concerns byannouncing the appointment of an independent panel of international expertsto review the health and safety aspects of the project and to makerecommendations to the Government.However after the review by IAEA (international Atomic Energy Agency) thegovernment has approved the Lynas-Gebeng project.According to (IAEA), Lynas have met all radiation safety standard imposedby them at the plant. - the disposal of the material also will be carried out and be disposed in Australia The plant will refine slightly radioactive ore from the Mount Weld mine deep in the Australian desert, 2,500 miles away. The ore will be trucked to the Australian port of Fremantle and transported by container ship from there.
Within two years, the refinery will be able to meet nearly a third of the world’s demand for rare earth materials — not counting China• What Malaysia Gain from this project??? Despite the potential hazards, the Malaysian government was eager for investment by Lynas, even offering a 12-year tax holiday. If rare earth prices stay at current lofty levels, the refinery will generate $1.7 billion a year in exports starting late next year, equal to nearly 1 percent of the entire Malaysian economy.