The Perak government will not hesitate to stop the non-radioactive rare earth element (NR-REE) project in the state if the project is found to have elements that are hazardous to health, the State Assembly was told today.

However, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said he is confident that all the processes involved in the project will not produce hazardous materials, including radioactive materials.

“(But), if the process of extracting the NR-REE or the process from the extraction brings harm, for example, there is a radioactive source, then the state government will not hesitate to stop the project,” he added.

He said this in response to a supplementary question from Koo Haai Yen (PH-Keranji) about the government’s plan to manage the radioactive materials extracted from the NR-REE project.

Saarani (BN-Kota Tampan) also project, carried out by MCRE Resources Sdn Bhd, only started after approvals had been obtained from relevant technical agencies, including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

“All these (requirements) have been complied with…we prioritise the health and lives of the Perak people more than the revenue that we can get (from the project),” he said in response to a supplementary question from Razman Zakaria (PN-Gunong Semanggol).

Razman was asking about the arsenic waste from mining activities in Hulu Perak that was polluting Sungai Rui.

Saarani also told the State Assembly that the state government was committed to establishing a NR-REE processing centre as a downstream activity to produce semi-products and final products that are more valuable when compared to raw NR-REE products.

“This has already been conveyed to the federal government where three strategic locations can be offered…these sites are government land and also land owned by state government-linked companies (GLCs),” he added.

He said the three locations are mean Muallim; Bandariang, in Hulu Perak; and Silver Valley Technology Park, Kanthan, Kinta.

Razamn said this in response to a question from Goh See Hua (PH-Pasir Pinji) about lanthanide mining in Gerik.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency