Lynas Corporation has received a government approval for the embattled construction of its waste facility in Malaysia.
The approval came from the country’s Atomic Energy licensing board and was supported by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin.
It is, however, subject to final approvals by regulatory authorities.
Lynas had been previously subjected to “false” and “inflammatory” statements regarding the effect of the proposed permanent deposit facility (PDF) on Kuantan’s water. The company rebutted these statements, stating external experts had confirmed that the site was not in a water catchment area.
Lynas added expert studies had also shown the PDF for water leach purification residue could be constructed to ensure there was no pathway for material to reach the water supply.
“The siting, design, construction, operation and closure of the PDF at Bukit Ketam will be in compliance with Malaysia’s regulatory requirements, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) recommendations and international best practices,” Lynas stated.
“… (Water leach purification) is classified as very low level radioactive waste under IAEA guidelines and is therefore ‘suitable for disposable in near surface landfill type facilities with limited regulatory control’ according to IAEA guidelines.
“Internationally, materials similar to WLP are used as a phosphate source in fertilisers or are used in the construction industry.”
Lynas intends to apply for regulatory approvals over the coming months ahead of the planned development early next year.
The PDF is anticipated to create job certainty for the over 650 direct employees and thousands of indirect employees of the company’s Malaysian plant.
The plant is the only major producer of separated rare earth products outside of China.