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Malaysia rare earths plant wins license to operate

- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 5, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (AP) - Australian miner Lynas Corp. says it has secured the Malaysian government's approval to fire up a controversial rare earths plant.

The operating license ends months of delays sparked by safety concerns surrounding the Australian company's plans to process rare earths crucial for manufacturing high-tech products.

Lynas said in a statement Wednesday it can now transport rare earths concentrate to Malaysia and potentially start the refinery in October.

Civic groups have staged numerous protests supporting residents near the 2.5 billion ringgit ($793 million) plant in eastern Malaysia who fear leaks of radioactive waste.

Lynas reiterated Wednesday the plant was "fully compliant with international standards."

The refinery is to be the first in years outside China, which has restrictions on rare earth exports.

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