Lynas reiterates commitment to removing radioactive material from Australian rare earth

File picture shows labourers working at an under-construction Lynas plant in Gebeng, some 270km east of Kuala Lumpur April 19, 2012. — AFP pic
File picture shows labourers working at an under-construction Lynas plant in Gebeng, some 270km east of Kuala Lumpur April 19, 2012. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Lynas today reiterated its commitment to Malaysia and to removing the Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) found within Rare Earths in Australia.

Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Lynas) managing director and vice-president Datuk Mashal Ahmad in a statement today said the company was committed to relocating the Cracking and Leaching process to Australia over the next five years, and had identified two potential processing sites, close to its mine in Western Australia.

“We have listened to the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and we understand that Malaysia would prefer that our first stage processing takes place before our material is shipped to the country for further processing.

“The first stage is where our rare earths are removed from the low level, naturally occurring radioactive material they are found alongside,” he added.

Mashal said once the new plant was operational, the material shipped to Malaysia for processing would not include naturally-occurring radioactive material.

“Around one third of Lynas Malaysia’s employees currently work in Cracking & Leaching. So, we will invest in additional downstream processing in Malaysia to create new jobs, and ensure all of our people have opportunities to grow with the company,” he said, adding, the government and local communities in  Australia are supportive of the move.

He said the changes in operation will cost about RM1.5 billion, but the company is committed to play the role as a Rare Earths Centre of Excellence.

He said that Lynas Malaysia’s staff was 97 per cent Malaysian.

“We are proud to be leading the industry as a sustainable and responsible producer of Rare Earths and in keeping with our licence conditions, and industrial best practices, we have invested in research into the safe reuse of the residues we generate,” Mashal said. — Bernama

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