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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Malaysian Lynas Plant Pending Review

The Lynas plant in Pahang state of Malaysia is pending a month-long review after high profile protests by environmentalist, villagers, NGOs highlighted and made clear comparisons to a radioactive chemical disaster that happened some years ago in Bukit Merah in the state of Perak - that resulted in villagers suffering from leukaemia.

Lynas meanwhile has secured another contract to mine for rare earth elements in Malawi.

These rare earth minerals are highly sought-after by new age modern technology - from iPhones, smartphones, netbooks, to hybrid cars. A single Prius Toyota Hybrid car uses 1 kg of neodymium.

What is neodymium? I remember buying a Sony earphone for my Nokia 5310 MP3 phone (my second purchase, the first one is damaged after 2 year's usage) recently. The package highlighted "neodymium speakers". Creating about 9 times the magnetic energy of the barium ferrite magnet, this overwhelming powerful magnet has allowed for the development of ultra-compact speakers.

Neodymium magnets are the strongest permanent rare earth magnet available. The magnets are popular and used for a variety of purposes including medical magnetic therapy, as part of industrial machines, for educational research and science and in household items, cars, speakers and toys.

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