Lynas license renewed for six months with several conditions

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 15 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Rare earth producer Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd has had its license renewed for another six months, but this comes with several conditions related to the processing of waste, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) announced today.

Prior to this, the government had given a three operating license for Lynas from 2016 till September this year.

Among the conditions the company, which operates in Gebeng, Kuantan, has to fulfill are to move its cracking and leaching process out of Malaysia as well as identify the site for the building of its Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF), the AELB said in a statement today.

Lynas will have to present a plan for the building of its ‘Cracking and Leaching’ facility to ensure that the process, currently carried out in Gebeng is done outside the country, AELB said.

“The conditions were decided based on recommendations made by the Lynas executive review committee in its report on November 2018, ” AELB said.

Lynas will also have to identify a specific site to construct a permanent disposal facility (PDF) and to obtain written permission from the state government for the use of that site.

Other conditions include the company having a plan for constructing and financing the PDF and getting the permission from the authorities of whichever country it plans to send the WLP residue to.

“The PDF must be constructed quickly to minimise the risk of the accumulated radioactive WLP residue, amounting to more than 580, 000 tonnes in the temporary residue storage facility, which is exposed to threats of natural disasters such as floods, ” it said.

Lynas will also have to end all research and development activities related to the use of the radioactive WLP residue as Condisoil in the field of agriculture.

Lynas was also required to allocate 0.5 per cent of its gross sales each year for research and development to the Malaysian government as an additional deposit until the cracking and leaching facility in another country begins operation, said the board.

AELB said the conditions were decided after the Australian federal government and the Western Australian state government told Malaysia that they would not accept any Lynas WLP radioactive residues back into the country.

The conditions were decided based on the recommendations of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant Operations Evaluation Executive Committee in its report in November 2018, it said.

“The construction of PDF should be expedited to minimise the piles of accumulated WLP radioactive residue now amounting to more than 580,000 tonnes at its residue storage facility (RSF) which is exposed to natural disaster such as a major flood,” said AELB.

AELB said it would monitor and ensure the construction and operations of the PDF are according to international standards.