Lynas website hacked as thousands protest Malaysia rare earth plant

Thousands of protesters have been converging on Lynas Corporation's new rare earths processing facility in Malaysia according to reports.

The Australian producer's website was also hacked over the weekend.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald a hacker, using the moniker "4z1" and claiming to be a Malaysian citizen, has taken credit for paralyzing the site. It was still down at 17:30 US Pacific time on Monday.

Shares in the company fell sharply on Monday and suffered fresh losses in early trading in Sydney on Tuesday. The Australian reports the number of protesters were put at between 5,000 and 20,000 and quotes event organizers who said the campaign has turned into "the biggest environmental issue for the country."

Groups like the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas believe that allowing the rare earth refinery will jeopardize Malaysians’ health and the environment and are also trying to overturn a temporary licence granted by the country's Atomic Energy Licensing Board through legal action.

Lynas intends to open the $230 million facility which will be fed by the company's Mount Weld mine by June. Lynas is set to become one of the few sources outside China which controls more than 95% of global output to produce rare earths.

Rare earth elements are extensively in green energy and a wide range of other industrial products from optics to military hardware.