IPOH: The 87ha pilot project involving the production of rare earth carbonates (REC) from non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) in Kenering, Hulu Perak, has generated almost RM16 million in royalties for the Perak government.
Menteri besar Saarani Mohamad said the sum was received after the state government had exported REC for the 10th time to China last July.
“The pilot project proves that rare earth is not radioactive, and that in-situ leaching extraction remains the best non-polluting method.
“The state government intends to continue mining in all the locations that have received environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval, that is, 2,160ha of land,” Bernama quoted Saarani as saying during the question-and-answer session in the state assembly today.
He was answering Mohamad Fakhrudin Abdul Aziz (PN-Kamunting) on whether the state government intends to open new rare earth mining areas, and if it has conducted additional studies on the effects of mining on the environment.
In another report, Saarani also pointed out that the study carried out by the Perak minerals and geoscience department showed that the estimated total of NR-REE deposits in the state is 1,687,500 tonnes with a value of RM46.5 billion.
“This is based on the REC market price of RM27,061.80 per tonne as of Sept 25,” he said.
On the possibility of more NR-REE projects in Perak, Saarani said it is up to the audit committee, an independent body formed to monitor NR-REE mining in the state, which involves 12 technical and enforcement agencies.
He also said new mining operations will only be allowed after the necessary approvals from the department of environment, and the environmental management plans are received.
The projects also require approvals related to the mining management scheme from the minerals and geoscience department, permit planning from local authorities, social impact assessment from PlanMalaysia@Perak, and erosion sediment control plan from the drainage and irrigation department.