KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The government is ready to face Lynas in court if the Australian miner is confident it has a legal case over its Pahang rare earths refinery operations.
Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the government’s stance is clear: Lynas must fulfil its promise to remove the 450,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste that it has accumulated over the past six years.
“I think we are clear on this. I just spoke to the attorney general this morning and we are all ready for it because everything we do is according to the rule of law,” she told reporters in Parliament today.
“Lynas cannot come and dictate how the rule of law is being applied in Malaysia and you cannot be asking for an exemption as if it is your right, your entitlement. I see this situation as necessary to move their waste out,” she added.
She also said the government is not setting new conditions for Lynas’ existing licence, stressing that the waste removal from Malaysia was one of the preconditions for the renewal of its operations here.
Malaysian law allows 20 metric tonnes of waste or a limit of 180 days for temporary waste storage. Lynas had requested an exemption where it has accumulated hundreds of thousands of wastes over a six-year period.
“So I believe Lynas as a listed company should honour their word,” Yeo said.
She said that for Lynas to leave its waste here is a risk for all Malaysians.
“What happens if there is major flooding? There’s 450,000 metric tonnes of waste... it’s a mountain of waste accumulating and it’s necessary to remove it for the sake of the people. I have to protect the people first.
“It is necessary for them to remove the waste while they are looking for other options. Before you arrive at any options to remove them, make sure there is no accumulation of waste because if there is any major flooding, temporary storage isn’t going to help,” she added.