MAC: Mines and Communities

Protests in Malaysia as Lynas plant gets three more years

Published by MAC on 2016-09-22
Source: SMSL, Free Malaysia Today, The Malaymail Online (2016-09-21)

Operating licence for the controversial rare earth refinery has been renewed

Lynas Corporation said Malaysian authorities had renewed its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant's (LAMP) operating licence for another three years.

Anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) responded to the licence renewal by alleging that Lynas did not fulfil its previous commitments on the management of the radioactive water leach purification wastes and the location for a permanent disposal facility.

SMSL claimed that the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has not responded to public requests on the data of wastes they promised to collect, in order to check if these data tally with that submitted by Lynas in their TOL application documents.

By its part, the Himpunan Hijau pressure group accused the Federal Government of being willing to sacrifice the people’s wellbeing in order “to protect a foreign corporate coloniser”.

A group’s spokesman said Lynas did not comply with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency and still did not have a waste disposal facility.

Previous on MAC:

2013-12-29 Malaysia: Lynas threatens opponents over plant deaths
2012-11-19 Malaysian Court declines appeal against Lynas

Four years on, Lynas still seeking to allay rare earth fears

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/four-years-on-lynas-still-seeking-to-allay-rare-earth-fears

Sept 14, 2016

Rare earth refining firm Lynas Corporation today published a full-page advertisement seeking to reassure Malaysians about the safety of its operations in Kuantan.

Having previously fended off environmental and health concerns regarding its rare earth refinery there, the mining firm took to reaffirming its long-held stand that its operations that started four years ago were safe.

In the full-colour advertisement in Sin Chew Daily, Lynas Corporation published a photo taken on July 30 that depicted three men in a boat catching a fish.

Along with the photo was a caption that said fishing remained a key income source and recreation activity in Kuantan and Sungai Balok, adding that no computer-generated image (CGI) technology was used for the picture.

“Lynas has already presented an accurate and transparent business policy, to preserve the interests of the society and environment,” it wrote in the advertisement in Mandarin in the Chinese-language paper.

Among the six bullet points listed was: “Lynas has already safely operated for four years.”

The company also said it has provided online operational readings in real-time to the relevant authorities, which it said could be obtained by the public.

It said independent tests showed that readings of background radiation levels within a 1km, 5km, 10km and 20km radius of its rare-earth plant in Kuantan have not gone up.

The firm also said that the quality of the plant's water discharge complied with regulations and is safe, further asserting that it has independent entities' validation that the plant's operations was safe.

“The Lynas plant does not adversely affect Kuantan's nearby residents or the surrounding villages,” it said.

In the advertisement that also carried the tagline "Advancing Hand In Hand With You", Lynas said it was a company that is sincere towards Malaysia and close to its people, denying that it is a firm that was aloof.

It ended the advertisement by saying that it believed true progress is only achieved by advancing jointly with Malaysians to enjoy prosperity together.

Earlier this month, Lynas Corporation said Malaysian authorities had renewed its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant's full operating stage licence (FOSL) for another three years until September 2019.

But anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) responded to the licence renewal by alleging that Lynas did not fulfil its previous commitments and written undertakings on the management of the radioactive water leach purification wastes and identifying a location for the permanent disposal facility.

SMSL claimed that the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has, since the first issuance of the Temporary Operating Licence in 2011, not responded to public requests on the data of wastes they promised to collect in order to check if these data tally with that submitted by Lynas in their TOL application documents.

“This is important because Lynas did not build any pilot plant prior to setting up LAMP and all data on wastes were based on hypothetical calculations,” SMSL had said, adding that no other regulating authorities such as the Department of Environment (Doe) had done so.


Protests as Lynas plant gets three more years

Himpunan Hijau says mining company failed to meet its promises to take radioactive waste back to Australia, accusing government of sacrificing people's wellbeing.

FMT Reporters - http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/09/03/protests-as-lynas-plant-gets-three-more-years/

September 3, 2016

The operating licence for a controversial rare earth refinery here has been renewed for three years until September 2019, the Australian mining company Lynas Corporation announced yesterday.

The announcement drew criticism from the Himpunan Hijau pressure group, which accused the Federal Government of being willing to sacrifice the people’s wellbeing in order “to protect a foreign corporate coloniser”.

Lynas said the renewal followed a review by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and other regulatory bodies.

The company claimed that its operational data showed no increase in background radiation levels, no adverse impact on the nearby residents of Kuantan or the surrounding village. Water discharges have been measured to be safe, it said, according to Star Online.

However the anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas criticised the company’s assumption that the community here was merely concerned with radiation.

The group said Lynas’s commitments and written undertakings about the management of the radioactive water leach purification waste, and a location for permanent disposal, had yet to be fulfilled.

Himpunan Hijau said today the group was “appalled and disgusted” that the government had allowed Lynas to continue “to illegally pile up massive amount of toxic radioactive wastes on our land for a shocking three more years.”

The group’s spokesman, Wong Tack, said Lynas did not comply with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency and still did not have a waste disposal facility.

Lynas had failed to keep their written promise to send toxic radioactive waste back to Australia, and no Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment on the plant had yet been carried out.

Wong Tack said Lynas had failed to recycle toxic radioactive waste into a commercial product as promised.


Press statement by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas group on the renewal of LAMP’s FOSL(TOL) on the 2nd September 2016

Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) http://savemalaysia-stoplynas.blogspot.com/

3 September 2016

We note with deep regret and disappointment on AELB’s decision to renew LAMP’s Full Operating Stage License for another 3 years despite our call to its Board to examine the non fulfilment of terms and written undertakings by Lynas with commitments to recycle the radioactive WLP waste into industrial by-products and ship them overseas.

In Lynas Corporation’s announcement made to Australian Stocks Exchange today, it claimed that LAMP’s operations for the past 4 years at Gebeng, Kuantan did not cause notable increases in the background radiation level within 1,5 ,10 and 20 km radius of the plant. It also said the real time readings on the radiation level in the surrounding areas were also made available to AELB and the public online.

This is regrettably assumed by the parties concerned that the communities here are merely concerned with the issue of radiation.

If AELB Board has agreed to renew LAMP’s operating license for another 3 years based on this point of submission, we wish to remind all members of the Board that all the commitments and written undertakings by Lynas in regards to the management of the radioactive WLP wastes and identifying a location for the Permanent Deposit Facility (PDF) have yet to be fulfilled!

Since the first issuance of the Temporary Operating license in 2012, AELB has never made any announcements nor responded to public requests on the data of wastes they promised to collect in order to check if these data tally with that submitted by Lynas in their TOL application documents. This is important because Lynas did not build any pilot plant prior to setting up LAMP and all data on wastes were based on hypothetical calculations.

Neither has the other regulating authority like DOE.

This is in stark contrast to their statement that the ‘renewal followed a rigorous review undertaken by the AELB and other independent regulatory bodies in Malaysia.’

We wish to state here that our regulatory bodies concerned have yet to state openly, publish or respond to public’s criticisms on the matters mentioned above. This demonstrated clearly that they have ‘hidden’ themselves behind the stone wall of silence and are not ready to make themselves accountable for decisions they had made!

In our Memo to the Board on the 25th August, we reminded all members of the AELB Board that should it accede to the agreement to renew LAMP’s FOSL (TOL), they should be mindful of the ‘legacy’ they will be remembered by by the future generations of Malaysians for allowing profits to take precedent over people’s well beings.

With the approval of the Board to renew LAMP’s FOSL till September 2019, it testified to the fact that the Board has scant regards for the toxic legacy that their decision will help leave behind for our future generations!

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