Government allows Lynas to stay — with conditions

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — August 15, 2019: The government has given the greenlight for Lynas Corporation to continue operating in Malaysia.

The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) today renewed Lynas’ operating licence which will expire on September 2 for another six months, during which the rare earth processing company needs to adhere to three conditions.

The first is for the company to submit a detailed report regarding its plan to relocate its cracking and leaching facility in Malaysia to Western Australia which must be done within four years. From then on, the company can no longer produce any residue with radioactivity of more than 1 Becquerel per gram at its plant in Gebeng near Kuantan.

The second is for Lynas to identify a location for its permanent disposal facility and secure written permission from the state where the facility will be built.

The third condition is for Lynas to stop all research and development activity concerning the possible use of its water-leached purification residue as a soil conditioner.

The company must also contribute 0.5 per cent of its profits during the R&D period as an additional collateral until its overseas cracking and leaching facility operates, says the AELB statement.

The AELB is an outfit under the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change. Its minister is Yeo Bee Yin.

Lynas’ operations in Gebeng passed a review by a panel of experts and scientists appointed by the government last November but its fate remained uncertain following contradictory directives from the authorities over residue disposal issues.

But recently Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad remarked that Malaysia could not possibly ask Lynas to exit, not when the company had invested more than RM1 billion and employs about 600 Malaysians.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at