Lynas offered to fund waste management R&D in deal for licence

Posted on May 28, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-The Malaysian Insider-

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Australian mining giant Lynas Corp will set aside part of its earnings from its controversial processing plant in Gebeng to help Putrajaya sponsor research into how toxic rare earth can be disposed off safely, government sources have said.

A source told The Malaysian Insider that Lynas was asked to pay the government a “certain percentage” from its annual gross profit to undertake research and development on the management and disposal of radioactive waste or pay financial security.

Currently, rare earth waste products can only be buried, recycled or transmuted into non-radioactive material, although many small operations in China release toxic waste into the general water supply.

It is understood that the requirement was mooted as a condition of Lynas’ manufacturing licence by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) during a meeting that also included representatives from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

While the source stressed that AELB — and not Mida or MITI — had asked for the security, he insisted that the security should not construed as indemnity against potentially hazardous waste that may result from processing rare earths at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang.

“There’s no such thing as an indemnity fund,” the source said.

Lynas told The Malaysian Insider last week that it had deposited money with Putrajaya “to ensure safe management of any remaining residues as required by the AELB”.

However, the company did not elaborate on the deposit or disclose the sum paid to AELB, charged by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to approve and monitor radioactive industries.

But AELB director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan was quick to deny that his agency had made the deposit a requirement.

“It’s got nothing to do with AELB. You got to check with Mida, check with MITI,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Mida and MITI successfully pulled Lynas to set up shop here after China — the world’s biggest rare earths producer — closed its doors to foreign firms to maintain its 97 per cent chokehold on the global rare earths market.

Green groups here and in Australia have lobbied their respective governments to nix the project ahead of LAMP’s September start date, citing the company’s opaque plans on waste storage and transport management between the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia and the Gebeng refinery.

Lynas is among the world’s biggest suppliers of rare earths, a group of minerals vital in the manufacture of high technology goods that are ecologically friendly but create toxic by-products in the process.

The RM700 million LAMP is expected to be the world’s largest and most sophisticated upon completion.

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One Response to “Lynas offered to fund waste management R&D in deal for licence”

RSS Feed for Environmental Development in Malaysia Comments RSS Feed

“LYNAS PROJECT WASTE MANAGEMENT: A Test of Australia and Malaysia Committment to Environment Governance and Responsibility”

Due to the nature and character of commercial activities engaged by Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), there is a serious need for all parties and stakeholders to view the costs-benefit analysis from both an Islamic Risk Analysis perspective besides the Environment Governance and Responsibility Perspective paradigm.

A fair and equitable approach to the Lynas promject must be addressed from an objective and social responsibility analysis without fear and favour.

I believe the government will view the Lynas issue seriously and IAEA will provide a fair and objective opinion on the matter.

Jeong Chun phuoc
Expert Consultant
An Advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence
He can be reached at Jeongphu@yahoo.com

Jeong Chun phuoc
Expert Consultant
An Advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence
he can be reached at Jeongphu@yahoo.com


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