PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Global Business Forum is organising a high-level roundtable on July 10 to discuss the future of the rare earths industry in Malaysia.
Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof will deliver the keynote address.
The roundtable is aimed at making Malaysia an advanced economy, leveraging off the rare earths value chain, the Global Business Forum said in a statement.
The roundtable discussion will include policy-makers, industry players, government-linked corporations, government development agencies, academics and other stakeholders to assist with charting a strategic direction and recommend the next step.
The statement said the roundtable was timely as in recent weeks, the global rare earths industry had taken centre stage in the trade discussions between the US and China.
Rare earths are essential inputs to the automotive industry and will become more important with the growth in electric vehicles, the electronics industry, oil and gas, and renewable energy.
China currently dominates the rare earths industry with a share of over 80%. With recent tensions, industrial users all over the world are concerned about continuing supply.
“Malaysia is uniquely positioned to develop an alternative rare earths supply chain and take a long-term and strategic position in key growth industries.
“The future of Malaysia’s high-tech industry aspirations lies with the ability to participate in the downstream processing of rare earths for global markets.
“This multi-billion dollar opportunity to participate in the critical materials value chain must be seized before other regional players attract the requisite expertise and investment to overtake Malaysia’s current lead,” the statement said.
The key question for Malaysia is how the country will move forward with industry development that empowers entrepreneurs and creates high-value employment in this high-value sector.
“To achieve this objective, Malaysia must have a clear vision, coherent strategies, backed by clear policies and driven by industry leaders with the financial capacity to take advantage of global opportunities,” the statement said.
Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, Mara Corporation chairman, said the country needs to develop the right ecosystem to ensure the success and high-value local participation in future high-tech government initiatives such as aerospace and the third national car.
“Building on Lynas’ strategic position as the only rare earths plant outside of China, Mara Corporation, as part of Mara’s mandate to pursue economic development, is keen to collaborate in building the human resource base, pursue rare earths-based technology development and, of course, the investment opportunities presented.”
He pointed out the significant Bumiputera participation in rare earths processing through Lynas where more than 90% of the staff are Malays, including technologists and operators “at the cutting edge of the sciences involved”.
Akhramsyah will also be speaking at the roundtable.