Lynas to seek legal review of licensing conditions in Malaysia after six-month extension granted
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Australian rare earths producer Lynas Corp today said it plans to seek a legal review of its licensing conditions for its refinery in Gebeng, Pahang that requires it to remove its radioactive waste from Malaysia.
Putrajaya had recently extended Lynas Malaysia’s licence, allowing the cracking and leaching plant to operate until January 1 next year after the company filed an appeal with Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.
“Lynas has made significant investments in its Malaysian facility and will seek review through these processes in respect of the conditions to ensure that Lynas is treated fairly and equitably as a Foreign Direct Investor and as a significant employer and contributor to the Malaysian economy,” it said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last night confirmed that Lynas Malaysia had been granted an extension under conditions that must be strictly adhered to.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang agreed to vary the conditions based on an appeal submitted by the company over four conditions imposed by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board.
Chang is expected to provide additional information regarding the extension today.
Lynas was previously required to remove the “cracking and leaching” of lanthanide concentrate out of Malaysia by July 1 and to restrict its advanced materials plant to only refining intermediate materials following public concerns regarding the refining processes due to potential environmental and health hazards, particularly the release of radiation.
However, Lynas has repeatedly maintained that its refining process does not release extraordinary levels of radiation to the environment around its Gebeng facility, which is said to account for half of all rare earth produced outside of China.
Rare earth elements are essential for producing high-tech applications such as electric vehicles, smartphones, and military equipment; global supply is currently controlled by China which accounts for 80 per cent of the market.