SYDNEY | From 1pm today Friends of the Earth Australia and concerned citizens are supporting the three-day occupation of Lynas Corporation’s Sydney headquarters by Himpunan Hijau – a Malaysian environmentalist movement protesting Lynas’ toxic and radioactive rare-earth refinery in Kuantan, Malaysia.
Wong Tack, Chairman, Himpunan Hijau said, “We are here to bring the voices of 1.2 million Malaysians who want the Lynas plant to be shut down immediately.”
Himpunan Hijau which means “Green Assembly” have six representatives in Sydney this week raising awareness and protesting against the Lynas rare-earth refinery in Malaysia – the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) – and Lynas’ shareholder meeting this Friday morning at the Establishment Hotel in Sydney’s CBD.
“From the beginning, Lynas has come in through the back door of our country and continued shady back room deals to get its LAMP up and running. They have collaborated with our corrupt regulators who have allowed them to violate proper procedures and operating standards.” said Mr. Wong Tack.
“We have no confidence in a company with such low integrity and that it can operate without any incidence.”
Tully McIntyre, coordinator of StopLynas.org, an affiliate campaign of Friends of the Earth Australia said, “With the second shipment of radioactive rare earth concentrate from Fremantle port already hitting the shores of Malaysia and another new shipment due in the coming weeks, we are seeing the beginning of a worrying trend of eco-colonialism by Australian companies in Asia Pacific.”
Himpunan Hijau and Friends of the Earth Australia urges the Australian government to press the Malaysian government to listen to the voices of Malaysian community who are opposed to this new and dangerous development.
Australia is a signatory to the Basel Convention Control which is aimed at reducing international movements of hazardous waste.
Seet Ping, member of Himpunan Hijau said, “As a mother and resident in this community, I can never be a bystander and allow my children hopes and dreams to be robbed away by Lynas.”
“I am not alone. tens of thousands of mothers in Malaysia share the same commitment as me.”
“Are lives in the North worth more than lives in the south?” said Ms McIntyre.
“We must demand that Australian companies don’t make developing countries in the South a toxic and radioactive waste dumping ground.”
“Lynas is a bad investment, investors should take heed and divest from Lynas who is acting with impunity and has no social licence.“
 Lynas Corporation: On August 4th 2011 Australian company Lynas Corporation officially opened its Mt Weld rare earth mine in Western Australia. Lynas wants to export 33,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrates through the port of Fremantle in Western Australia to the port of Kuantan in Malaysia to their polluting, energy intensive an highly controversial processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).
Although the LAMP was scheduled to start operations by the end of 2011 it has been a constant source of delay and controversy for the Australian rare earth miner losing $107 million in the last financial year. It has faced ongoing opposition from Malaysian residents and environmentalists, as well as ongoing operational problems over the past three years. Lynas commenced commercial production and shipments during the June 2013 quarter
 Himpunan Hijau is a grassroot green movement set up in November 2011 by a group of locals from Kuantan, Pahang to protest against the Lynas project and environmental injustice. Their occupation and protest of Lynas in Sydney follows on from several key activities in the past two years, including:
Mobilisation or over 250,000 people in the streets of Kuala Lumpur against Lynas;
Occupation of Independence Square in which they collected over 1 million signatures to shut down Lynas in Malaysia; and
A 300 km walk to raise awareness resulting in 20,000 people joining the walk in its last days into Kuala Lumpur.
 Eco-colonalism is neocolonialism with a twist. As the end of cheap energy for developed countries, or the ‘North’, spells the end of cheap power there is a push to pursue cheap power at all costs. These costs include land grabbing, land poisoning, destruction of communities and destruction of ecosystems particularly of developing countries, or the ‘South’.
Lynas imposing its rare earth industrial complex on Malaysians, which includes toxic and radioactive waste in its process, is an example of eco-colonialism. It is an example of a corporation from a developed nation (Australia) taking advantage of a developing nation’s (Malaysia) low costs – the environmental, social and labor legislations are lax allowing the violation of multiple environmental rights and of the communities. This, especially in the case of Lynas, is done under the banner of saving the planet, that it ‘reduces greenhouse emissions’ and is providing ‘sustainable development’.
 The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal first came into force in 1992. The Convention puts an onus on exporting countries to ensure that hazardous wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner in the country of import.
The Basel Convention places obligations on countries that are party to the Convention. 151 Countries have ratified the Basel Convention as at December 2002. These obligations are to:
Minimise generation of hazardous waste;
Ensure adequate disposal facilities are available;
Control and reduce international movements of hazardous waste;
Ensure environmentally sound management of wastes; and
Prevent and punish illegal traffic.
Australia signed the Basel Convention in 1992. The Convention is implemented in Australia by the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989.
Tully Mcintyre, Coordinator, StopLynas.org