MAC: Mines and Communities

Malaysia tells Lynas to remove radioactive waste for licence renewal

Published by MAC on 2018-12-06
Source:, Free Malaysia Today

A change of government in Malaysia seems to be bringing to the surface long-held civil society concerns over pollution at Lynas' rare earth processing plant.

Previous article on MAC: Protests in Malaysia as Lynas plant gets three more years

Lynas studying government’s report on review of its operations

FMT Reporters

Free Malaysia Today -

4 December 2018

Lynas says it will release a statement once the company has reviewed the report.

PETALING JAYA: Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd said it is studying the report by Putrajaya’s review committee on its operations in the country.

“The report has only just been made available. We will release a statement once we have reviewed the report,” it said in a short statement to FMT.

This comes after the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry announced new conditions for any future renewal of Lynas’ licences to operate in the country.

Reuters had reported that the ministry said Lynas must remove radioactive residues from Malaysia and would need to submit an action plan for non-radioactive waste disposal for future licences or permission renewals.

In a report issued on the ministry’s website, a committee commissioned to review Lynas’ processing plant also recommended improvements to residue management, periodic health monitoring, and studies to identify the source of heavy metals in areas near the plant.

Meanwhile, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, a fierce critic of Lynas, welcomed the new licensing conditions and Lynas having to remove its waste from the country.

“Lynas should proceed with its previous application with relevant authorities in Australia to seek permission to send back its radioactive waste,” she said in a statement.

She added that the Pakatan Harapan was committed to a sustainable, clean and safe development path for Malaysia.

Lynas has consistently defended the safety of its rare earths plant in Gebeng for its workers and the surrounding community, saying it had been reviewed twice by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – in 2011 and 2014.

After both reviews, Lynas said, it had implemented all of IAEA’s recommendations and that the independent body regarded Lynas’ operations as “intrinsically low risk”.

Malaysia tells Lynas to remove radioactive waste for licence renewal

Cecilia Jamasmie

4 December 2018

Malaysia has told Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC), the Australian miner with a rare earth elements processing plant on the country's east coast, to remove the radioactive waste collected as a result of its activities over the past six years if it wants to continue to operate.

Among the conditions set by the country’s Energy and Environment Ministry, the miner must also submit an action plan for non-radioactive waste disposal for future licences or permission renewals.

The "management of the waste residue from the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) should be given priority to ensure the wellbeing of the community and the environment", the ministry said in a statement.
"Waste needs to be removed by September 2, 2019, when Lynas' temporary storage licence expires."

The decision follows a review of the company’s operations in the Southeast Asian country kicked off by the new government, which took power in May.

The six-year-old facility — known as the Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) — was the centre of relentless attacks from environmental groups and local residents while under construction in 2012. They feared about the impact the low-level radioactive waste the refinery generates could have on the health of those living nearby and the environment.

In October, the company’s chief executive and managing director, Amanda Lacaze raised concerns about the impartiality of a couple of members of the committee reviewing its operations, as both are known for being long time opponents of having the refinery in Malaysia.

That led to minister Fuziah Salleh, who chaired the inquiry group, to step down and the committee letting Lynas continue storing residues at the plant, while it awaited the decision on a longer-term application.

Sydney-based Lynas is one of the world’s main suppliers of rare earths outside China. The metallic elements, crucial in the production of magnets, are extracted in Western Australia, but processed in Malaysia.

Its temporary storage licence for radioactive residue in the province of Kuantan is up for renewal in September 2019, while its approval for non-radioactive waste storage is valid until February 2019.



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