KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Lynas Corp said today it welcomes Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's announcement of the removal of the requirement for it to repatriate its rare-earth processing waste as a precondition for its licence renewal.
In a statement, Lynas Corp company secretary Andrew Arnold said the Australian miner will await formal notification from the government regarding the conditions for the renewal of its operating licence.
The formal decision is expected to be announced sometime during the middle of this month.
“While we await formal notification from the Malaysian government, Lynas is prudently conducting preliminary work on the outcomes that have been the subject of media speculation, including preliminary work on locations for a Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) for our water leach purification (WLP) residue.
“This builds on the work completed previously, including the Lynas PDF Planning Framework that was approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) in 2014, following the Pahang State Government’s consent for Lynas to locate a PDF in Pahang state,” he said.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said that Lynas Corp has been directed to construct a PDF to treat the water leach purification (WLP) residue that is created from rare-earth processing at its facility in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Lynas Corp previously insisted that it cannot manage to export 450,000 tonnes of the WLP residue, a by-product of their refinery operations, by September and offered to build the PDF as a compromise.
The firm agreed to build the facility last year following the recommendation from the executive review committee appointed by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.
However, Minister Yeo Bee Yin then insisted that Lynas must export its waste back to Australia as a prerequisite for Lynas’s licence renewal.
Following approaches by Yeo’s ministry, Australian authorities flatly rejected any possibility of accepting the Lynas waste in their country.