Perak govt gets approval to build non-radioactive rare-earth elements lab

05 Oct 2023 08:47am
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
IPOH - The Perak government received the approval of the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Ministry, during the National Mineral Council Meeting on Monday, to build a laboratory for non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) or lanthanides in the country.

The matter was revealed today by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad during his speech at the Perak Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers' (FMM) annual dinner in conjunction with its 55th anniversary.

"The laboratory will be built together with Perak's investment arm Menteri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc Perak), the Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC) and Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak (PKNP).

"So we will be a pioneer in the construction of the first laboratory in Malaysia that conducts tests involving rare earth elements, so any parties from other states who do exploration and want to carry out tests will have to come to Perak to use our laboratory," he said.

Also present at the event were FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai and Perak FMM chairman Chua Kay Lin as well as the Perak government's executive council line-up.

Saarani said the state government through the meeting with the NRECC had requested that Perak explore the opening of factories producing intermediate and downstream materials (end products) of NR-REE.

"The ministry also agreed to allow Perak to expand the operations of the NR-REE mining area as we requested before.

"In fact, we want to respond to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's suggestion that all minerals be processed in the country before being exported, so we ask to further develop prospects in downstream products," he said.

According to Saarani, as of July, the NR-REE mining pilot project operations in Mukim Kenering, near Gerik managed to generate almost RM16 million in royalties for the state government through the export of rare earth carbonate.
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He said the pilot project proved that the rare earth elements were not radioactive, and extraction through the in situ leaching method was the best one, which also did not pollute the environment - BERNAMA