We’ll comply with review committee’s scientific recommendations, Lynas tells parliamentary caucus

Mashal said Lynas was prepared to comply by the committee’s recommendations, including for the company to site and build a permanent disposal facility for water leach purification residue. — AFP pic
Mashal said Lynas was prepared to comply by the committee’s recommendations, including for the company to site and build a permanent disposal facility for water leach purification residue. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Lynas Malaysia today shot back at a special parliamentary caucus committee which has opposed the resumption of its rare earth mining operations in Pahang.

Its managing director and vice president Datuk Mashal Ahmad said in a statement today the company will abide by the government’s review committee’s recommendations and would disregard assertions that were not scientifically-backed.

He pointed out that the company has had meetings with the review committee appointed by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry along with scientific experts, community members and groups opposed to Lynas.

Mashal said the committee found Lynas’ operations are low risk, compliant with relevant regulations, and its residue storage facilities were operated in a proper manner.  

These findings, he added, were consistent with several independent and scientific reviews, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He also said Lynas was prepared to comply by the committee’s recommendations, including for the company to site and build a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for water leach purification (WLP) residue.

“Lynas Malaysia believes the Review Committee’s recommendations should be followed and that all assessments of our operations should be based on scientific facts and evidence, not unsupported assertions,” said Mashal.

Yesterday, the caucus committee tasked with monitoring Lynas operations said it was shocked by the announcement made by Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan that the rare earths plant's operations will continue.

This, said the committee in a statement, was because the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry had already said that Lynas should honour its contractual agreement to remove its water leach purification residue, before its operating licence expires on September 2, as well as cooperate with their Australian counterpart to return the waste to Lynas’ country of origin.

"We stress that the Lynas factory's operations cannot continue as long as the conditions for waste management have not been upheld."

Those in the committee include DAP's Bentong MP Wong Tack, PKR's Merbok MP Nor Azrina Surip @Nurin Aina, Datuk Haji Hasanuddin bin Mohd Yunus - Hulu Langat (Amanah), Maria Chin Abdullah - Petaling Jaya (PKR), Wong Shu Qi - Kluang (DAP), Chan Ming Kai - Alor Setar (PKR), Khoo Poay Tiong - Kota Melaka (DAP), Datuk Hasbullah Osman - Gerik (UMNO-BN) and Haji Awang Hashim - Pendang (PAS).

Mashal today said Lynas had invited all members of the caucus committee to visit its plant for a briefing on its operations and to date, all except one member of the caucus have either declined or not responded to its hand-delivered invitations.

“This is disappointing as many assertions made by the committee are incorrect and we wish to ensure that all members have access to the fact, he said.

On Redzuan’s recent comment on sending radioactive waste back to Australia, Mashal said that in line with international best practice, Lynas Malaysia’s licences required them to carry out research and development on the safe reuse of the WLP residue generated but if that proves impractical, the licence conditions require Lynas Malaysia to site, construct and build a PDF to store the WLP residue.

“Malaysia is only required to export the WLP out of Malaysia if both of the previous options are not available,” he said.

However, the contract provided a “if necessary” clause which refers to the three-stage order of priority.

“Lynas Malaysia has commissioned numerous independent research reports, all of which demonstrate that option 1 to reuse is feasible. Option 2 — the PDF — is also feasible and the AELB has previously approved Lynas Malaysia’s siting plan for a PDF,” he said.

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