Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: How on earth can mining be 'sustainable'?

Yoursay

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YOURSAY | 'Wong Tack is right to call the bluff of the natural resources minister.'

Don't mislead public by talking about 'sustainable' rare earth mining

Mission Accomplished: Yes, Bentong MP Wong Tack, you are right to call the bluff of Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar on the 'sustainability' of the rare earth mining industry.

Rare earths are a hot subject these days, since they are very valuable minerals that high-end products depend on.

The United States uses a great deal of rare earths in its commercial and military manufacturing, yet refrains from mining them simply because it is a 'dirty' business. They would rather let China mine it, preferring to be the importer rather than the producer.

Xavier, we are educated enough to know what harm mining rare earths does to the environment, and if not managed well, to the health of our people. 

Idiocracy: Way to go Wong, for being consistent and standing up to the present lot of ministers who seem to have absolutely no idea what they're doing. 

Please also talk to Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin on why her ministry is not appointing an Environmental Quality Council as required by the Environmental Quality Act 1974. 

The council could pursue the environmental problems that have plagued us recently, like the river, air and radioactive pollution. 

Are these coordinated efforts by the powers that be to undermine sustainability, an oversight, or just plain incompetence? 

Are these ministers taking advantage of a prime minister who is still pursuing a third national car and opening up more industrial parks for foreigners to devour our land and take advantage of our weak environmental laws?

We are counting on you, Wong, to take up these issues because nobody else seems to bother much. 

Ravinder: Xavier is not an expert in the field of radioactivity. So who is advising him? 

He seems to be just a mouthpiece for others. Who are these people? Civil servants or industry players? 

This is the problem when people who aren't experts are the ones entrusted to make decisions. So on what knowledge are their decisions based?

Or is politics all about making money and ensuring nothing stands in the way, regardless of what the people who voted the politicians into power say?

Appum: Well said, Wong. Some of our ministers, even the prime minister, seem to think only of money, investors and FDI, without much consideration for the effects of development on the people and environment. 

Cash translated to politics is important to them because it buys votes, but not so much the environment. 

The minister's idea of 'sustainability' is similar to US President Donald Trump's understanding and position on the environment. 

That is why we have those containers of rubbish coming onto our shores and pockets of illegal recycling factories springing up. We are perceived as a toxic waste dumping ground for developed nations. 

With ministers having this kind of acceptance of toxic waste, how are we not to allow such things to occur here? Mind you, Lynas is only processing the rare earth here and not in Australia. Why?

Clever Voter: So often the environment has been abused. There is nothing sustainable about mining. What is taken out can never be replaced.

One wonders where ministers receive their education. Both the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry and the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry ought to be sued for sacrificing the environment for commercial returns. 

Ecology and economy can coexist, but many prefer the cheaper way of extracting and pray nature will replenish the resources. Man-made damage is long term. It is irreversible. 

When leaders put their interests above the nation, then we better be prepared for negative consequences. 

It will destroy the rivers, and pollution will kill wildlife and eventually, us. For decades, we have seen politicians camouflaging their sins. It's time they are charged for crimes against the environment.

Fair Play: Sustainable rare earth mining? What foolish logic is this? Rare earth mining is an extractive resource, like oil drilling and extraction. 

Sooner or later, it will run out, unlike plant-based resources such as palm oil, which is renewable.

Anonymous 2315071437551281: The inconvenient truth. Hiding behind fancy jargon like 'sustainability' is a norm in this country. 

We voted Pakatan Harapan for a 'New Malaysia', but as time goes by, our hopes are slowly fading.

Anonymous_1559614452742.73831559614217160: I guess this is the least you can do after been elected for being an activist.

You have been spreading lies for political gain. Lynas is compliant to the strictest international standards, but you people think you know better.

Try getting the rest of the chemical industries to adhere to international standards. 

Newday: It is good to challenge the overuse and simplification of words – in this case, 'sustainability'.

Mining – and in the case of Lynas, downstream processing – does not qualify as 'sustainable' at this point of time due to the residue from the processing.

However, at least Lynas is regulated and subject to much scrutiny. You cannot put the blame on the minister for every mining-related issue, as it sits squarely with the state authorities first.

The manganese mine near Kampung Kuala Koh in Gua Musang is under very poor scrutiny by the Kelantan government, and the health disaster of bauxite mining in Pahang was caused by the greed of its state government and oil palm smallholders.

And yet you get stuck with a federal minister who has inherited the corrupt system that was in place prior to the 14th general election.

Your argument is unsustainable. Your rhetoric appears to be straight out of a 50-year-old 'How to be a Greenie' handbook.

Yes, you do have a point that we cannot continue with the old ways which led to environmental disasters, but just attacking the current minister is not the way forward.


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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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