Nick Curtis' letter to MP Fuziah Salleh


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Lynas CEO Nick Curtis' letter of invitation to MP Fuziah Salleh for a discussion on the issues and concerns the Kuantan community has on LAMP

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Nick Curtis' letter to MP Fuziah Salleh

  1. 1. 21 June 2011MP Yang Berhormat Puan Hajah Fuziah binti SallehPusat Khidmat Parlimen Kuantan A137Tingkat 1, Jalan Beserah 25300Kuantan, PahangMALAYSIADear Yang Berhormat Puan Hajah Fuziah binti SallehI have been carefully following your concerns and public comments about Lynas. I have feltchallenged and confronted by some of your statements, as they do not fit with theperception I have of myself, or my company’s values.I strongly believe Lynas has a role to play as a responsible and important member of thecommunity, with an obligation to create shared value - not just in conventional economicterms, but in terms of long term, sustainable improvements to society.I believe that in creating a new global hub in Kuantan for responsible processing of rareearth elements - essential ingredients for the sustainable future we all desire – we willdeliver substantial benefits to the people of Kuantan. But clearly I have failed to conveythis message effectively.I have heard the community’s concerns and calls for greater clarity and transparency.At Lynas, we genuinely believe that we acted responsibly because we complied with the law,consulted with a range of stakeholders, and set ourselves the goal of establishing newbenchmarks for safety and environmental performance in rare earths processing.Nevertheless, we are conscious that the burden of proof is on Lynas to demonstrate theresponsible, safe management of waste from our operations. We are open to increasing ourtransparency, so that you and others may have all the information you require to hold usaccountable on this issue.Through community briefings, media interviews and a comprehensive presence on socialmedia, Lynas has tried to give the public factual information to help build awareness thatour raw materials and residues are safe, non-toxic and non-hazardous. Our information isbroad, and covers the range of plant residue materials and environmental managementinitiatives.However, it is clear that your explicit concern is about the waste stream that containsthorium. And in hindsight, it may have been better if we had talked more widely andspecifically about our waste storage plans for the residue material containing low-levels ofthorium and associated low-levels of radiation. 1 of 3
  2. 2. Lynas began its education outreach effort to local officials and the community in 2008. Butit seems that some, including yourself, feel that it was not a credible engagement processand that is why you chose not to attend our past public briefings.Lynas welcomes further discussion and I would like to understand where you think theopportunities for constructive community engagement may lie. The upcoming report fromthe IAEA may be the basis for a deeper dialogue with Kuantan residents and communityleaders about the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant, the impact of rare earths processing, andhow we will responsibly mitigate and manage any associated risks.At the same time, I have a growing sense of unease about the more exaggerated claimsmade by extreme and vocal opponents of our plant, and how they are generatingspeculative fear, uncertainty and unrest amongst residents and the public.A calm and constructive conversation is now urgent.On Friday evening, 17 June 2011, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Kuantanresidence of LAMP Construction Manager, Mr. Bill Morris. A sign “Go Back to AustraliaLynas” was painted on Bill’s front fence. Fortunately Bill was unhurt. Together, I’m sureyou will join me in the call that whilst vocal opposition to our plant may be fair, violence isunacceptable. Safety of individuals and the Kuantan community must come first.At Lynas, we each hold personal safety as a core commitment. The safety of our employeesand the communities in which we operate will always take precedence over production. OurLAMP has been designed with this core principle in mind.Lynas will engage with all stakeholders, including its opponents, in meaningful dialogue onthe substantive issues. Through open engagement and positive interaction with thecommunity, Lynas will earn the trust required to sustain a license to operate.Lynas seeks to reach out, listen to different perspectives and build some trust with thosewho are concerned about the safety of the LAMP.I understand that feelings currently run high and that speculative and unsubstantiatedclaims create uncertainty and doubt. Amongst the voice of opposition, I sincerely hopethere is a common respect for the facts.We appreciate your recent correction via Twitter that Lynas had obtained approval to builda refinery in Australia. This correction on the public record is an important step forwardfrom our point of view. The less incorrect information there is out there, the more we canfocus on the issues that truly concern the community and other anti-Lynas groups, to see ifwe can resolve their concerns.Lynas did have approval to build its processing plant in Australia, but chose to build inMalaysia where the highest international standards for rare earths processing exist today.We chose Malaysia for its transparent and rigid regulatory environment, and we intendmeeting and exceeding the high bar that your nation sets for the industry. 2 of 3
  3. 3. We would appreciate your help on correcting the suggestion that that the Lynas AdvancedMaterials Plant will adopt Chinese standards in its construction and operation, and as aconsequence, will not adhere to international standards. This is not true. The downside ofsuch false claims is that a perception could grow that we are not willing to be held toaccount to the highest standards. We’d appreciate your help in ensuring the facts areknown about the commitments we have made.In an open letter to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, on 2 April 2011, you requestedthat an international panel be appointed to review and provide external expertise andconsultation on the safety of the LAMP.On 22 April 2011, Minister YB Dato Sri Mustapa Mohamad appointed an esteemed panel ofglobal experts in the field of radiation, health and safety. This panel brings together thehighest level of expertise and scrutiny to the project. The International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), represented on the panel, is unrivalled in its understanding of radiationrisks, process modeling, and health and environmental impacts.To ensure that this internationally-recognized group of professionals play the role you hopethey will, I note you have been calling for them to demonstrate impartiality andindependence.We support this call.We also support the Malaysian Government’s commitment to the health and safety of itspeople and the environment as the top priority. We will commit to fulfilling therecommendations of the independent review findings. We hope that in doing so, Lynas mayplay a role in helping Malaysia realize its stated ambition for the Rakyat through high-income, inclusiveness and sustainability.Rare Earths play a vital role in green technology, and Malaysia has the opportunity to be atthe forefront of the industry. With the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant, Malaysia will play anindispensible role in helping to build energy efficient light bulbs, hybrid cars and windturbine engines for renewable power generation - technologies we’ve come to embrace andrely upon as green, sustainable solutions for the future.Once again let me state that I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you personallyas soon as possible, so that we may constructively engage on the issues face to face.Please let me know your availability so that we may arrange a time that it is mutuallyconvenient.Yours sincerelyNicholas Curtis AMExecutive Chairman 3 of 3