Lynas not responsible for heavy metals in underground water, says ministry official

K. Nagulendran speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 31, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
K. Nagulendran speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 31, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

BANGI, May 31 — The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) Ministry confirmed today that Australian rare earth refiner Lynas Corp was not responsible for the concentration of heavy metals found in groundwater near their plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

Its Deputy Secretary-General (Environment and Climate) K. Nagulendra told reporters that there was a peak reading during the time the review committee was looking into the fate of the plant’s future in Malaysia.

“There was a peak (when the review was being conducted) but groundwater comes from many sources. After the review, the government agencies found that the water quality has returned to normal.

“So it was just one peak,” said Nagulendra in a press conference.

When asked if the government would make the findings public, he said it “could” do that.

He added that the Environment Department is also continuously monitoring the site.

The same goes for Lynas itself.

Last month, Kuantan MP and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh made allegations against the Australian-based company that a concentration of heavy metals was found in the underground water at the Lynas plant.