Civil disobedience, Rare earth processing and supply chains

An article in the New York Times (September 6, 2012) describes plans by two NGOs in Malaysia, Himpunan Hijau and Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, to protest a plan by Lynas, a materials processor, to start rare earth processing in a plant near the port of Kuantan. Lynas planned to ship raw material, unprocessed minerals, from Australia, and process it to get rare earths in Malaysia. Opponents worry about the radioactive contaminants released. But Lynas claims it will convert byproducts into material for roads and buildings and export them. The reason for rare earth demand is its use in the growing market for smartphones and alternate energy sources. Should the worries about the planned plant capacity be considered as part of the risk of supply that will reflect itself in higher prices for rare earths ? Is the plan to process and export all output and byproducts a reasonable compromise by Lynas ? If the Malaysia Atomic Energy Agency grants permission to operate, does that solve supply uncertainties ? Who are the NGOs representing and what evidence is reasonable to solve their anxieties e.g., will online readings of plant radioactivity resolve this issue ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Global Contexts, Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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