Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) did not like the idea and thinks that rare earth mining should not be allowed in Perak which will have bad implications on human health and the environment, altogether. Meenakshi Raman president SAM said it was irresponsible of the Water, Land, and Natural Resources Ministry as well as the Perak government to allow a China-based company to explore and mine rare earth in Perak.
She said authorities should learn lessons from the Asian Rare Earth plant which initiated the same process in the 1980s and lasted up to 1990s and had a drastic implication that resulted in the dumping of hazardous thorium and uranium waste in the Kledang Range. She argued that the waste from mining will remain radioactive for billions of years and pose risk for the people of Perak.
She said "High incidents of deaths among children suffering from leukemia and cancer have been reported in Bukit Merah. There were also reports indicating elevated levels of lead in their blood, and the rate of miscarriages reported in the area is relatively higher. Therefore, we find it most shocking that the Perak government and the ministry have not learned the tragic lessons where the ARE plant had posed serious threat to the lives of the Bukit Merah community who are suffering from radioactive poisoning,".
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar, who witnessed the MoU signing ceremony, had quoted that Perak in tapping natural resources through "sustainable mining".
On the contrary, Meenakshi said adding the word "sustainable" would not make the activity "safe". Taking a dig on the move, she called on the Perak government not to allow rare earth mining and the ministry to stop promoting such high-risk activities.
She said "It is a highly hazardous venture that has far-reaching implications on public health and the environment. Learn from past mistakes,".
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