IPOH, The Perak government has assured that it will protect the rights to non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) in the state, emphasising that the benefits will be for its residents.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad, however, said that the federal government would act as a facilitator for mining activities related to these mineral resources.

‘In discussions with the federal government, we have firmly stated our position that these mineral resources belong to the state government and we will defend our rights,’ he said in response to a supplementary question from Razman Zakaria (Gunung Semanggol) during the state assembly sitting here today.

Razman had asked on the state government’s stance on NR-REE ownership in Perak and measures to ensure these resources benefit the people of the state, especially in alleviating poverty.

Saarani also informed that the Perak Mineral Laboratory would commence operations this September, with 15 employees already appointed for this purpose.

“We will start w
ith 15 skilled workers, including senior chemists from local universities. They will undergo training, both locally and internationally and we may expand our workforce as needed in the long term,” he said.

Earlier, Thulsi Manogaran (Buntong) sought information on the state government’s plans for managing NR-REE exploration over the next five to ten years, following the federal government’s decision to prohibit the raw export of rare earth elements.

In response, Saarani said the moratorium on NR-REE export activities is a strategic initiative aimed at fostering the midstream and downstream development of the NR-REE industry domestically.

He outlined planned approaches, including refining the comprehensive economic chain related to NR-REE, encompassing upstream activities such as mining and extraction, midstream processes focused on refining and separating NR-REE elements and downstream activities focusing on the production of final NR-REE-based products.

“The state government also prioritises sustainabilit
y in planning the NR-REE industry, ensuring strict compliance with environmental regulations, balancing economic development with natural conservation efforts and ensuring equitable distribution of economic benefits to local communities,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency