TOKYO: Malaysia will allow Australia’s rare earth plant Lynas Corp to continue operating in the country, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
The Prime Minister’s announcement ended uncertainties that bogged down the future of the US$800 million (RM3.35 billion) Lynas plant in Gebeng, Pahang following a temporary suspension of its operating licence renewal.
“Yes, we will renew the Lynas licence,“ he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Club (FCCJ) here today.
Late last year, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change imposed two conditions for the renewal of the Lynas Advance Materials Plant (LAMP) licence, including sending radioactive waste materials from the country.
LAMP also needs to ensure that the Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP) residue containing radioactive material is removed from Malaysia.
For non-radioactive scheduled Neutralization Underflow Residue (NUF) waste disposal, LAMP must submit an action plan for disposal of accumulated waste before being considered for approval under Regulation 9 (6) and 9 (7), Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) 2005.
Mahathir said Malaysia had bad experiences involving radioactive waste and did not expect it would be a problem when Lynas was allowed to operate.
“When we invite Lynas to invest, we do not think there is any radioactive waste problem, otherwise, we have to discuss how to dispose of it (the waste). So, that there is no local effect.
“Lynas is allowed to continue operating because we do not want to lose big investments from Australia,“ he said.
Previously, Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd was reported to be optimistic that their operating licence will be extended before the due date in September.
Its chief executive officer, Amanda Lacaze said this was because Lynas had fulfilled all regulatory requirements and had played by the rule since the rare earth plant first started its operations in Gebeng here. — Bernama