Kuala Lumpur – Rare earth industry is becoming increasingly important in electronic devices used in defence, alternative or renewable energy and communications industries. Its elements are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications.
Rare earths exports from Malaysia such as minerals used for military equipment and consumer electronics are in huge demand now. Malaysia currently has a lead in the race to become the global rare earth production centre as the Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, Pahang currently processes 20% of the global rare earth.
A roundtable discussion titled the Future of Rare Earth Industries was recently organised by the Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF) and held at Kuala Lumpur Hilton hotel on 10 July 2019 that was attended by more than 150 stakeholders.
The Entrepreneur Development Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Mohd Yusof in his keynote address at the roundtable discussion said “ We have received enquiries and expressions of interest from industry players to invest in the downstream sector using rare earth products in this country.”
Redzuan added Malaysia could attract investments of up to RM100 billion (USD$24 billion) in the rare earth sector over the next 10 years, once the government makes clear how it intends to regulate the industry.
One of the participants, Profesor M.M Hanafi from Department of Land Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia said that “This forum is the plan by the government to encourage manufacturing facilities in Malaysia using our rare earths and exporting our rare earths to another country so we can develop industry, other than that, we can create job opportunity and knowledge research.”
Meanwhile, Mohd Hafidzi Mohd Razali, a consultant with ZICO Advisory mentioned that “It (the rare earth business) is a highly technical business to begin with, it depends on the support entrepreneur and people myself would receive to do this business. First of all in requires a lot of capital, technical expertise and experience but with the right partners it is possible.
Lastly, Managing Director of Sri Panching Timur Sdn Bhd, Mohd Faiisa Romli said that he is interested with rare earth industry but as long as it is stays in the right track.
Report by Maisarah Karina