Grassroots social media campaign is costing Australian firm millions

A mining company failed to adequately engage with the Malaysian people before it built a rare earths plant in the nation, and it’s hitting the company’s bottom line.

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Attracted by tax breaks, the company built a rare earths refinery plant in Malaysia to process material from its mine in Australia. Unfortunately, some of the waste is radioactive and Malaysia has already had one bad experience with rare earths processing when a Mitsubishi Chemical plant was shut in the early ’90s after several health incidents. It has since spent a $100 million cleaning up the mess, according to media reports.

A campaign calling itself “Save Malaysia Stop Lynas” has called for the Lynas plant to be closed. Through the campaign’s use of social media, it has steadily gained a worldwide following, which includes political support. It has used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and websites to great effect.

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