KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 ― Lynas Corporation’s rare earth processing plant at Gebeng in Kuantan, Pahang has received a three-year extension on its operating licence expected to end early March 2023.
Online portal Malaysiakini reported that Lynas made the announcement on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) today and that the renewal has four conditions the mining firm is confident of satisfying.
“We thank the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for its decision to renew the operating licence for three years.
"This follows Lynas Malaysia’s satisfaction of the licence renewal conditions that were announced on Aug 16, 2019," Lynas Corporation CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze reportedly said in the ASX announcement.
It was reported that the Cabinet had approved the extension with the following four conditions:
1. Lynas to begin the process of developing the permanent disposal facility (PDF) within the first year from the date of approval of the licence;
2. Lynas must submit a work development plan for the construction of the PDF and report on its development status as determined by the Malaysian AELB;
3. Lynas must ensure that the cracking and leaching plant outside Malaysia is in operation before July 2023. After that period, Lynas will no longer be allowed to import raw materials containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) into Malaysia; and
4. Holding of the financial deposit will be maintained for compliance with the relevant licence conditions.
Lacaze had also repeated her company’s commitment to developing a new cracking facility in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia where they can pre-process materials there before sending them to Malaysia.
Therefore, any radioactive waste generated will remain in the country of origin ― which is also part of Putrajaya’s conditions when it first granted them a six-month temporary licence in August last year.
Earlier on January 30, the Pahang state government had okayed the PDF water leach purification to be in a remote site in Bukit Ketam, Pahang but met stiff opposition from Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Bentong MP Wong Tack.
Both federal lawmakers claimed that the location could contaminate Bukit Ketam’s water supply and since it is next to Bukit Kuantan Hill, it may affect the catchment area for Sungai Kuantan.