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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian activists have lost a court battle to halt Australian miner Lynas Corp. from firing up a controversial rare earths plant amid safety concerns.

After months of delay, Lynas Corp. in September obtained the Malaysian government's approval to start processing rare earths crucial for manufacturing high-tech products.

But villagers took the case to court, calling for Lynas' operating license to be suspended until the court rules on the case.

Coalition leader Tan Bun Tet says the court ruled Thursday in the company's favor, paving the way for the miner to start operations immediately.

He says they will appeal the decision.

Company lawyers didn't immediately comment.

The 2.5 billion ringgit ($818 million) refinery is to be the first in years outside China, which has restrictions on rare earth exports.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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