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About 2,500 construction workers are currently building the world's largest rare earth smelter in Malaysia. If the price of rare earths remains high, the smelter will generate an annual export revenue of US$1.7 billion from next year, close to the Malaysian economy. 1 percentage point.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, "New York Times" commented on the 8th, for Malaysia and the world's top technology companies, the construction of this rare earth smelter is a bet. They are risking environmental damage to broaden access to the strategic resources of rare earths. However, rare earth smelting usually leaves thousands of tons of low-radiation waste, which is detrimental to the environment.

Environmental factors help explain why Australian mining giant Linus Mining has built a rare earth smelter in Malaysia. The plant, costing US$230 million, is located in the northern suburb of Kuantan, the industrial port of Malaysia, and is mainly used to smelt rare earths from the depths of the Australian desert.

Nicholas Curtis, managing director of Linus, said that the cost of building and operating such a rare earth smelter in Australia is four times that of Malaysia. What's more, if they operate in Australia, they must face the Green Party, which has a tough attitude on environmental issues.

The New York Times reported that the Malaysian government considered the potential environmental hazards, but urgently needed Linas' investment to provide the latter with a 12-year tax holiday.

A person in charge of the Malaysian Atomic Energy Approval Committee said that after investigations by various agencies, Malaysia confirmed that the rare earth and its subsequent waste radiation levels imported from Australia were as low as safe and controllable. "The past experience tells us that we can't give anyone a wedding dress for free."

Linus said that Malaysia's new rare earth smelter will be equipped with the most advanced pollution control equipment and radiation sensors. But where these rare earth by-products leave the storage pool is still questionable. Guangri

■ Rare earth

Rare earth has become a "hot vocabulary" beyond the field of chemistry. Such materials are increasingly important to high-tech companies, and are widely used in the manufacture of high-tech products such as the US Apple iPhone, the Toyota Motor Corporation's Prius Hybrid and the Boeing Smart Bomb.

All of the rare earth elements are included in the 35 21st century strategic elements identified in the United States and 26 high-tech elements selected in Japan.