Asia Malaysia Mahathir says cannot force  firm  to leave country amid fear of...

Mahathir says cannot force rare earths firm Lynas to leave country amid fear of radioactive waste

Party Keadilan Rakyat or Justice Party members are opposing the renewal of the company's licence unless the Aussie owners repatriate the radioactive materials back to .

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Lynas is the only significant rare earth producer outside . Rare earth is the name for a group of 17 metals used in batteries, computers, televisions and smartphones.

The product is currently at the centre of the growing between the US and . China controls most of the rare earth production and has threatened to use it a weapon in the against the US.

To reporters Dr Mahathir says the 600 Malaysian employees at the plant in the state of Pahang were not afraid to keep working there.

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“We invite them and then we kick them out. Others will say the country made a promise but, when there is a problem, we kick them out … we cannot do that,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Lynas shares were up 3% at A$2.89 on Friday.

It is also possible that Malaysia will extend Lynas’ licence to operate the plant by a Sept 2 deadline.

Blocking Lynas may impact the rare earths market as Beijing tightens its grip on the supply of the rare material.

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