KUALA LUMPUR: Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin today maintained her view that Lynas Corporation Ltd (Lynas Australia) must ship out radioactive wastes accumulated at its rare earth processing plant from Malaysia.
Yeo said she shared with the Cabinet her views on the matter, which was also supported by ministers from DAP.
She added that renewal of the Australian rare earth producer’s permit for another six months, which was announced by Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) – a regulatory body under the ministry, was the final decision made by the Cabinet.
“My views on Lynas remain the same as what I have previously mentioned. I have conveyed my views to the Cabinet and was supported by DAP ministers.
“The one announced by AELB yesterday (Thursday) is the final decision made by the Cabinet. And we abide to the collective decision made by Cabinet,” she told reporters after the launch of Top Glove Corporation Bhd’s green product, BioGreen Biodegradable Nitrile Gloves.
The AELB announced on Thursday that Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s (Lynas Malaysia) operating license has been renewed for another six months. However, it said the company must comply with three conditions imposed by the government.
The conditions imposed against Lynas included that the company must come out with a plan to build a cracking and leaching facility abroad to transfer the process away from its plant in Gebeng, Pahang.
The cracking and leaching facility abroad must be built and become operational within four years starting from the effective licensing date.
After the facility commences its operation overseas, Lynas would no longer be allowed to produce radioactive residue for more than one Becquerel per gramme (Bq/g) at its plant in Pahang.
The ministry, in a statement dated Dec 4 last year, had imposed two pre-conditions that would be applied to Lynas Malaysia for future licences or renewals permissions.
The pre-conditions included for the company to remove all accumulated Water Leached Purification (WLP) residues at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) from Malaysia. WLP is a solid waste containing naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) with a radioactivity of 6.2 Bq/g.
LAMP is also required to submit an action plan on the disposal of its accumulated wastes before it would consider for future applications under Rule 9 (6) and 9 (7) of the Environmental Quality Regulations (Scheduled Waste) 2005.
In the same statement, the ministry had also noted that Lynas Australia and Lynas Malaysia had each presented letters of undertaking indicating their commitment to remove LAMP residue from Malaysia, if necessary.
The letter of undertaking by Lynas Australia, dated Feb 23, 2012, was signed by its executive chairman Nicholas Curtis. The letter of undertaking by Lynas Malaysia dated March 6 the same year was signed by its managing director Datuk Mashal Ahmad.