PETALING JAYA, Feb 3 — The Pahang government has denied that Bukit Ketam has been chosen as the site for Lynas Corporation’s permanent disposal facility (PDF) to process water leach purification (WLP) residue.
The New Straits Times (NST) reported late yesterday that Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Abdul Rahim Muda had stated as such in response to an announcement by Lynas several days ago.
He added that once the site was identified, the official announcement would be made by Putrajaya.
“Not finalised yet, still waiting for AELB to decide,” said Abdul Rahim, in reference to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board that will select the site, in a text message to NST.
Abdul Rahim’s latest comments refuting the Australian rare earth firm’s claim come after Lynas secretary Andrew Arnold, in a statement on January 30, announced that the Pahang government had given its consent for the company to build a PDF site in Bukit Ketam for its WLP residue.
In the same statement, Arnold said Lynas Malaysia had appointed Gading Senggara Sdn Bhd (GSSB) as the contractor to manage the entire PDF project for an estimated total amount of US$98 million (RM400.7 million).
On Saturday, it was reported that Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh had voiced her concerns, saying the Pahang government should be the one to announce details on the selected site, not Lynas.
Fuziah, who is also deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the state government should take full responsibility for the matter and its apparent silence could lead to unease among its residents.
Bukit Ketam is located about 30km from Kuantan, near the Pahang-Terengganu border. The hilly area has a rock quarry and is surrounded by forest reserves and oil palm plantations.
There are no residential areas in Bukit Ketam.
Last August, AELB said Lynas‘ operating permit had been renewed for another six months and the plant must comply with three conditions.
One of the conditions requires Lynas to identify a specific location for the construction of a PDF as well as obtain written permission from the state government to use the location.
On November 19 last year, the state government confirmed that it had received an application from Lynas on potential PDF sites and said it was scrutinising the suitability of the locations.