Lynas operation in Malaysia at risk over waste dispute

The Malaysian Government has set Lynas Corp two licence renewal conditions for waste removal at its Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) near Kuantan, Malaysia.

Malaysians have been angered by Lynas since a buildup of toxic and radioactive waste in a landfill at the company’s LAMP rare earth elements (REE) processing plant, which has been operating near Kuantan since 2012.

The government has set the new conditions for Lynas despite the release of a review committee report from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) that found the operation is low risk and compliant with applicable laws.

The committee reported that Lynas’ operations were based around low-risk procedures and technologies, and that the company had voluntarily adopted international standards and practices.

It also found that the exposure of Lynas employees to both radioactive and non-radioactive hazards was below permitted levels.

In contrast to this, a separate MESTECC statement explained that Lynas would need to satisfy its new waste removal pre-conditions by September 2 next year in order to receive its licence extension.

These pre-conditions relate to the export of water leach purification (WLP) residue, and the submission of an action plan for the disposal of neutralisation underflow residue (NUF).

Lynas today said MESTECC’s demands were in contradiction to a previous statement that it would review the committee report before making such announcements.

The company went on to state that it would consider all available options (including legal options) to “achieve an appropriate outcome” prior to September 2 next year.