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Malaysia court refuses to gag rare earth critics

- Associated Press - Thursday, July 26, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (AP) - Australian miner Lynas Corp. has failed to secure a court order preventing Malaysian activists from criticizing its plan for a rare earths plant.

Safety concerns have caused a protracted delay in Lynas' efforts to process rare earths critical for manufacturing high-tech products.

A High Court rejected Lynas' application to block a coalition of villagers from publishing statements about the project that Lynas insists are defamatory.

Coalition representative Tan Bun Teet said Thursday's verdict was a "small victory" for activists to maintain their opposition.

Lynas' lawyers did not immediately comment.

A parliamentary panel has ruled the project is safe. But officials have not approved an operating license.

Opponents fear leaks of radioactive waste. But Lynas says the first rare earths refinery outside China in years has state-of-the-art pollution controls.

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