IPOH: The processing of the rare earth metal lanthanide could be done domestically if the mining project at Hulu Perak is approved, says Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.
The Perak Mentri Besar said the project would benefit the state and its people.
“There are various opinions about lanthanide, but since it is non-radioactive, we are considering processing the element (here) once the project starts.
“With our technology and expertise, if we process the element here, not only will we have bigger profits, we can also provide more job opportunities,” he said when replying to Yahaya Mat Nor’s (PH-Pasir Panjang) during the question-and-answer session at the state assembly sitting at the State Secretariat building here on Tuesday (July 19).
“We will also monitor the project to ensure public safety. Rest assured that we will not break any standard operating procedures (SOP) or rules.
“We will continue to adhere to the SOP and prioritise the well-being of the public,” he added.
“The local community is expected to receive new job opportunities as a semi-skilled workforce (is needed),” he said, adding that the project would boost economic activities in the district through demand for food, groceries, accommodation, laundry and other support and service businesses.
“In the long term, if the project is approved, the plant will open doors for high-tech industry while boosting R&D as well as innovation,” he said.
Saarani said minerals are an important source of revenue for Perak.
“Minerals such as silica, kaolin, tin ore and clay are among minerals that have contributed to the state’s gross domestic product figures.
“Based on our data, the mineral sector recorded a total revenue of RM238,163,243.80 from 2019 to last year,” he said.
There was disagreement earlier in the session between Howard Lee Chuan How (PH-Pasir Pinji) and Datuk Abdul Manaf Hashim (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) when Saarani claimed that the project was announced by the previous state government.
Lee, a former state executive council member, said no discussion or approval had been done at state level during Pakatan Harapan’s tenure in government from 2018 to 2020.