Lynas on track to start Malaysia plant in June

SAN FRANCISCO Thu May 10, 2012 7:11pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO May 10 (Reuters) - Lynas Corp Ltd said on Thursday it was on track to start up its rare earths plant in Malaysia next month after an official in the country called it "the safest rare earths plant in the world."

The plant in Kuantan on the east coast of Malaysia, under construction since 2010, has been held up as Malaysian residents and local politicians expressed concerns about radioactive waste contaminating the environment.

Pol Le Roux, vice president for sales and marketing for Lynas, said he believed a public hearing set for May 21 in Kuala Lumpur would be the final step in the process.

Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licensing Board had approved a two-year operating license for Lynas in early February, but the company has been waiting to receive it.

"We have no knowledge of any other procedure, hence we feel comfortable - reasonably comfortable, because we have learned in the last six months that you have to be careful - that we should get it by June this year," Le Roux said at the International Rare Earth Summit in San Francisco.

The project is part of efforts worldwide by companies to break major supplier China's hold on rare earths elements that are used in electronic devices such as Apple Inc's iPhone.

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