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Rare Earth Plant in Malaysia Nearly Ready to Go

Australian miner Lynas says it's almost ready to fire up a controversial rare earth refinery in Malaysia and would suffer losses if its operating permit is delayed.

GEBENG, Malaysia (AP) — Australian miner Lynas says it's almost ready to fire up a controversial rare earth refinery in Malaysia and would suffer losses if its operating permit is delayed.

Malaysia earlier this year granted Lynas a two-year license to operate the first rare earths plant outside China in years. Rare earths are minerals crucial to high tech manufacturing.

The government is reviewing its decision amid protests by residents over alleged health and environmental risks.

Lynas says it has state-of-the-art pollution controls.

The managing director of Lynas' Malaysian operations, Mashal Ahmad, said Thursday the company was ready to start operations in a fortnight but the review means it cannot bring in raw material.

The plant will refine ore from Australia.

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