Lynas will be monitored to ensure conditions are met, says minister

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin (left) and Rural Development Minister Rina Harun (right) witness the installation of LED street lights at Kampung Rincing Hilir in Semenyih this evening.

KUALA LUMPUR: Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin gave an assurance today that Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd will be monitored to make sure the conditions for the renewal of its licence are met.

She also said she respected the freedom of critics of the rare earths manufacturing plant to speak, adding that “we respect their views on government affairs”.

Yeo said there had been no official application by Lynas as yet for a site to set up a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for its water leach purification (WLP) waste – one of the conditions set by Putrajaya when it decided to renew its licence by six months last week.

The company at Gebeng, Kuantan, must identify a site for a PDF with written approval from the relevant state government or get official permission from the authorities of any country to transfer its residue there.

It must also build its cracking and leaching facility outside Malaysia within four years of the renewal, after which it would not be allowed to produce radioactive residue exceeding one becquerel per gramme at its plant.

Earlier today, Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said Lynas had not submitted a formal application for a specific location to set up a PDF in the state.

He said that if an application was received, the priority of the state government would be the people’s safety, adding that “that part we are very clear”.

This afternoon, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh urged the state government not to allow the company to establish a PDF in Pahang as it would create “problems and dangers”.

She said the space required by Lynas would be “100 times more” than the Asia Rare Earth facility at Bukit Merah, Perak, adding that the plant had produced 1 million tonnes of scheduled waste and 500,000 metric tonnes of radioactive WLP residue to date.

In a statement welcoming the Cabinet decision, Lynas Malaysia’s CEO Amanda Lacaze had said their PDF planning framework and site selection plan had previously been approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).

She was also reported to have said the Pahang government had given written approval to locate a PDF in the state.

Earlier, Yeo witnessed the installation of energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) street lights at Kampung Rincing Hilir in Semenyih.

So far, 10,075 units of LED village street lights have been installed, replacing high pressure sodium vapour (HPSV) lights, she said.