My Anthem

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going for a Global Perspective on Rare Earths ... in view of Controversy

Raging over the Aussie-Malaysian LYNAS poject in Pahang.

Malaysians should think, quietly and aloud, still allowed, whether dear Ozland, where Desi has got many dear friends, including mGf SweetSpirits:), truly can convince us (go-blok?) Malaysians that the benefits of Lynas ouweigh the harm the billion-dollar project would bring to NegaraKu. Australia has some 20times more land -- substantially desert --than Malaysia; so if it is a project of such great benefits, WHY NOT SITE IT IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY?

Indeed, if PM Najib Razak thinks that Lynas project is not at all a threat to Malaysians' health in the long-term, WHY NOT SITE IT IN PUTRAJAYA and he and first family continue to stay dare even after his deprivation of his premiership? SIGN US A LETTER OF GUARANTEE?

Desi is thinking global nowadays because we can learn a lesson or two from the second most powerful economy that is CHINA, and how this RARE EARTHS issue is brewing in that population of 1.4billion nation.
Let us not be GO-Blok with short term gains and long term besieged with terminal illnesses weiging down on Malaysian senior citizens.

Hey, we wanna lkive to at least 86-years-old as is now ex-PM Dr Mahatir Mohamad's fate, for badder or worse!:) OR :(

YL, Desi, knottyaSsusual

China Bullies Rare Earth Materials: The Case for Exploration

March 15, 2012 by  · Leave a Comment seems that the world’s largest economies are finally clamping their feet down on China, who again stands accused of bullying global trade markets. A formal complaint has been launched to the World Trade Organization in the wake of China’s prolonged attempts at manipulating the export of rare earth materials, to the point where global prices have been swollen ten-fold. China’s actions have made imports less economical for foreign manufacturers. With China controlling about 90 percent of global production it evidently pulls all the switches. Its growing domestic demand has compelled it to reduce its shipments abroad, which in turn have strained global supply and exacerbated global prices. The case has taken on added significance because rare earth materials hold enormous value in the development of sophisticated products. They are intrinsic to the growth of military technology, green technology, clean technology and all things that are poised to symbolize our growth and development over the next few decades. President Obama recently declared, “If China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening”. The lodging of the complaint has seen mixed reviews; some give it praise whilst others argue it is simply ‘too little, too late’. But regardless of its effectiveness, the complaint is a token to action. What is certain is that with rare earth materials we are talking about the ‘oil’ of the 21st century. These are resources that will soon leverage as much, if not more power than oil, and the reliance on predatory Chinese policies must end.
Many argue this reliance has already lessened, with inflated prices acting as a blessing in disguise. Facing strenuous costs, foreign manufacturing companies have been busy exploring and innovating in search of other options. For instance, Dysprosium demand has lagged as many electric carmakers have realized alternatives to the rare earth. Higher prices have also driven investments in mining outside of China. Although China accounts for 90 percent of production of rare earths, it only accounts for 50 percent of global reserves. Lynas Corp. (ASX: LYC) is one of the leading companies in exploration. It expects to boast a fully functional rare earth’s plant in Malaysia by June this year. The plant will process as much as 22,000 tones per year and should account for 20 percent of the world market. Yaron Vorona, executive director of the Technology and Rare Earth Metals Center at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, doesn’t “think it’s too little, too late”, instead believing it is because of China that alternatives now exist.
There are of course two sides to the matter. China’s rare earth maneuvering has extended for such a period of time that it has already prompted many manufacturers, all of whom rely on rare earths for production, to relocate to China. Karl A. Gschneidner Jr., rare earths specialist at the Energy Department’s Ames Lab in Iowa, stated, “the filing was too late”, and shared the belief that he expected more companies to shift to China before any World Trade Policy ruling might take effect. There is a case to be made that China has craftily orchestrated a policy that has shifted the high tech industry onto its own soil.
So currently, we can’t expect the removal of export quotas to curb Chinese control over the market. After all, it was China who once-upon-a-time bullied global producers out of the market with its competitively lower prices. Who is to say that unfairly cheap Chinese rare earths won’t do the same one-day?
The complaint sets a precedent by raising the issue and compelling China to respond. Should the bully carry on bullying, the rest of the world might have to take notice and fight fire with fire. Rare earth’s are fast becoming the pillar of technological advancement and China cannot be setting the prices. There is only one clear message. Suffer, or start digging for alternatives.


And now from a perspective from Down UNder:~~~~~~~

Lynas’ Mt Weld Rare Earths Mines Safety Permits Outdated

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 6, 2012 11:24 AM EST
The controversy now has hit home.
With Lynas Corp. still to fully arrest and win over the controversy surrounding its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia, here comes yet another information that could possibly whip up a storm right where its home base is.
In a statement released to media news agencies worldwide, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) is set to file a motion today, Mar. 6, at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to question the authenticity and effectiveness of the health and safety approvals issued to Lynas Corp. in reference to its Mt Weld rare earths mines in Western Australia.
According to the Free Malaysia Today, it was the Environmental Defenders Office of Australia that issued the media statement.
Marcus Atkinson, ANAWA spokesperson, alleged Lynas Corp. had made a number of alterations on the original health and safety approvals issued more than a decade ago for the operations of Mt Weld that did not undergo through the appropriate standard operating procedures relative to updating or modifying obsolete approvals.
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"Lynas are currently operating under approvals issued to them 14 years ago," Atkinson said, noting the terms and conditions contained in the original approvals could possibly no longer hold true to this day, specially "the amounts of radioactive materials being transported from Mt Weld through Fremantle Port."
The Australian non-governmental organization urged the EPA to scrutinize the present operations at Mt Weld versus was what contained in the original health and safety approvals.
"Health and safety issues need to be thoroughly examined to ensure the best protection of those involved in the handling of this material," he said.
"The approvals given 14 years ago need to be re-examined by the EPA and stronger regulations need to be put in place to ease the fears of the community."
ANAWA also called for "extremely stringent" safeguards to protect Fremantle residents and other communities along the transport routes.
"We have made many mistakes in the past with the transport of lead and other materials, and we need to ensure that the same mistakes are not made with rare earth products," Atkinson said.
Lynas Corp. is currently embroiled in a bitter battle against residents and political wannabes in Malaysia over its $200-million rare earths processing plant project in Gebeng, Kuantan.
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And Desi working xxtra heART for thee, my ER, a rare perspective from China on the political front, extracted from AFP via The Malaysia Chronicle. Will BN leaders choose to take a leaf from China's example, OR they continue to take leave of their senses wrt Minister Sharizat Jalil and her RM250million albatross hanging around hubby's neck? Or, not time yet, await April 8, Malaysians are SO PATIENT, havng been well cared for by a doctor in the house for 22 years? -- Desi, knottyaSsusual

Friday, 16 March 2012 08:03

Senior Chinese leader sacked in rare political scandal

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Senior Chinese leader sacked in rare political scandal
BEIJING- Bo Xilai, the charismatic but controversial Communist Party leader of China's Chongqing metropolis, has been removed from his post, the state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.
The move, which comes ahead of a major leadership transition in China's ruling party later this year, follows weeks of intense speculation about Bo's future after a key aide reportedly tried to defect to the United States.
Bo, who is known in China for his populist Maoist revival campaign, will be replaced by vice-premier Zhang Dejiang, according to a brief statement on Xinhua that gave no reason for his dismissal.
The former commerce minister had been seen as one of the leading contenders to join the Communist Party's politburo standing committee -- the apex of political power in China -- later this year.
But that changed on February 6 when Wang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief who masterminded Bo's crackdown on corruption in the southwestern municipality, visited a US consulate and reportedly asked for asylum.
Wang has been placed under investigation in the wake of the unusually public political scandal.
On Wednesday, as he delivered his closing press conference at the end of the annual parliamentary session, China's Premier Wen Jiabao said officials must "learn lessons" from the incident -- comments seen as a rare public rebuke to a senior party leader.
Analysts said Bo's openly ambitious style had likely damaged his career long before the Wang incident, which had been used by his enemies as a way to go after him.
"Bo Xilai always made a big chunk of the leadership very uncomfortable. They found his whole style of campaigning for a Standing Committee position to be offensive," said Patrick Chovanec, a professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
"To put yourself forward and court publicity in the way that he did was so out of line with the way things had been done -- that was seen as offensive to a lot of people.
"He's very open, very confident, very charismatic and that's not the way most Chinese leaders behave and that is not the way they feel comfortable with their peers behaving."
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a politics professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, said the Wang affair had weakened Bo, but that his downfall stemmed from his controversial crackdown on corruption.
"It created waves that went to the very heart of the establishment," he said.
Bo, the 62-year-old son of a Chinese revolutionary, made a name for himself with his crackdown on corruption, which led to scores of senior officials being jailed in Chongqing -- a sprawling megacity of some 30 million people.

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