Lynas wins full operating licence for its LAMP

The Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP)

Lynas has been issued with a full operating stage licence for its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

The plant's development has been a controversial one for Malaysia, with ongoing protests since its construction and approvals began.

Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licencing Board granted Lynas approval for its processing plant in Kuantan in February 2012 .

However court battles and protests against the project continued to rage with Save Malaysia Stop Lynas worried the plant will emit radioactive pollution, threatening both human health and the environment.

In September 2012 Lynas Corporation beat analyst predictions and won a temporary operating licence for its processing plant in Malaysia. 

However, in October the Malaysian High Court extended the suspension of Lynas' temporary operating licence until early November.

Protests broke out in Malaysia and also took place outside the company’s head office in Sydney that month amid concerns from the Greens that radioactive waste from the plant would be shipped back to Australia.

In January 2013 the miner won a further injunction to stop processing at the plant.

At the time the company said that "there remains no injunction or stay preventing Lynas from continuing to carry out its operations at its Malaysian plant.”

The win came less than a month after the miner began ramping up processing at the LAMP

Protests continued, but reached a peak late last year when these confrontations became physical when a fight broke out between a Malaysian government official and activists.

It happened while Deputy Science Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah was giving his assurances to the group that the rare earth processing plant was safe.

"The Lynas factory is as safe as a kicap (soy sauce) factory,” he told the group of protestors.

"I can take you all for a site visit to see the facilities. Expenses will be fully sponsored by the ministry.”

His statement angered the group who questioned Diah on the plant's permanent disposal facility and environmental issues.

Shoving and pushing ensued between Diah and some members of the protest group.

Since that time the LAMP has continued to progress, boasting its production levels in the last quarter of 2013.

"Total 'ready for sale' production during the [December] quarter was 741 tonnes, on an REO equivalent basis, approximately thee times the production of 253 tonnes in the September quarter," the company said at the time.

Now the plant has passed another milestone, with the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) granting a full operating licence.

It follows a review undertaken by the AELB and other regulatory bodies in the country, all of which found the plant in compliance with regulations.

"Receiving this licence is another significant milestone for Lynas, and validates the safe and secure operation of the LAMP during the two year tenure of the Temporary Operating Licence," Lynas chairman Nicholas Curtis said.

"Lynas looks forward to continuing the ramp-up of the LAMP production and sales, and to securing its future as a sustainable supply chain partner in this strategic global market."

The newly awarded licence is renewable in two years time.

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