Lynas’ Temporary Operating Permit in doubt, as radioactive wastes problem not resolved

Four Malaysian cabinet MPs (responsible for trade, science, natural resources and health) have now released a joint statement, saying the temporary licence granted to Lynas requires it to remove “all the residue” from the plant out of the country.

They also warned that if Lynas does not comply, the Government can suspend or revoke the licence and order it “to immediately cease operation”.


Malaysia orders Lynas to ship out waste http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-11/an-malaysia-orders-lynas-to-ship-out-waste/4422084  Dec 11, 2012   .
 Australian mining company Lynas and its plans to process rare earths in Pahang state have caused local communities and environmental groups to raise concerns over the management of radioactive byproduct waste

Malaysia has ordered the Australian miner Lynas Corp. to ship out all the waste from its new rare earths plant, because of environmental and health concerns.

Lynas began processing rare earths at the $800 million dollar plant in
Malaysia’s eastern Pahang state last month.

However, residents and environmental groups are worried about
radioactive residue from the factory.

Four Malaysian cabinet MPs (responsible for trade, science, natural resources and health) have now released a joint statement, saying the temporary licence granted to Lynas requires it to remove “all the residue” from the plant out of the country.

They said Lynas must ship out all residue, including products made from it.
“The obligation imposed on Lynas in this matter is very clear. The
Government will not compromise the health and safety of the people and
the environment in dealing with the issue of Lynas,” they said.

They also warned that if Lynas does not comply, the Government can suspend or revoke the licence and order it “to immediately cease operation”.

This came after local media reports that quoted a top Lynas official
in Malaysia as saying it would not remove the waste as it needed to
abide by international conventions, which prohibit the export of
hazardous wastes.

The Malaysian MPs said those reports were inaccurate.

AFP reports that Lynas officials did not immediately return request for comment.
Court challenge
In November, Lynas cleared a final hurdle when a court gave the
go-ahead for the company to begin operating, after being delayed by
more than a year because of environmental and health fears.

However, activists are challenging that court decision, with a hearing
scheduled for next week.

The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) is set to become one of few
sites outside China to process rare earths.

The metals, imported from Australia, are used in high-tech equipment,
ranging from mobile phones to missiles.

Residents, activists and opposition leaders have staged numerous
protests against the plant, saying it would release radioactive gases
and solid waste such as radium and lead, and small amounts of uranium,
into the environment.

Lynas has insisted that any radioactive waste would be low-level and
not harmful and that it will safely dispose of it.

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