Independent panel to review Lynas plan to produce rare earth

Posted on April 22, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-The Star- KUALA LUMPUR: An independent panel comprising international experts will be set up to review the health and safety aspects of Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd‘s plan to manufacture rare earth oxides in Kuantan.

The review will be completed within a month after the panel is set up.

International Trade and Industry Ministry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad said Friday the panel would be appointed as soon as possible and expected that it would take about a month to complete its job, adding that the experts would be from many disciplines, such as radiation and safety.

Until the review was completed and the Government made a decision, no pre-operating licence would be issued to Lynas by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), Mustapa said.

“There will be no importation into Malaysia of raw materials from Australia. A review will be undertaken to ensure that construction of the facility at the site fully complies with international safety standards,” he told a press conference on Friday.

He said concerns over health, safety and environmental aspects of the Lynas’ project had been expressed recently and that the Government would never compromise public interest in handling the issue.

According to Mustapa, Lynas was granted a manufacturing licence in January 2008 to produce “rare earth oxides and carbonates” at Gebeng Industrial Estate, Kuantan.

The licence was granted subject to a number of conditions, including compliance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 and provisions of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

The subsidiary of the Australia-listed Lynas Corp Ltd has proceeded to build its plant at Gebeng, and all work at the site had been continuously monitored by the AELB and the Department of Environment.

“To date, both authorities have been satisfied that the company has met all health and safety standards and requirements,” said Mustapa.


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