KUALA LUMPUR — February 12, 2020: The consultants who confirmed the status of Bukit Ketam as a non-water catchment area that is suitable for storing Lynas Corporation’s residue were certified by the Department of Environment (DoE).
This was highlighted by Lynas today following a contention by a scientist who claimed that Bukit Ketam — about 32 kilometres north of Kuantan — was ill-suited to house the company’s storage facility because it is a water catchment area.
In its statement, the rare-earth producer pointed out that the site screening for its permanent depository facility (PDF) was in accordance with the stringent standards set by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board.
“The work on this was completed by a team of DOE-registered consultants who formed their views after collecting extensive data related to the site. This team of experts have confirmed the site is not in a water catchment area.
“Today’s blanket claim, from one scientist, that all of Bukit Ketam is a water catchment area, is not supported by data,” said Lynas, adding that the site screening criteria included the area’s topography, geology, hydrology and hydrogeology.
However, according to the scientist, Dr. Maketab Mohamad, the presence of a tributary in Bukit Ketam which flows to the nearby Sungai Riau was proof that the area was in a water catchment area.
“Seeing the topography of the river and also the stream, everything flows into Sungai Riau, so building it anywhere in the area will involve Sungai Riau,” he maintained after visiting the site today.
Maketab was part of the government review committee that gave an all-clear on Lynas’ operations two years ago.
Lynas had in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange two weeks ago stated that it will be paying a government-appointed concessionaire Gading Senggara Sdn. Bhd. US$98 million to manage the PDF.
Having the facility was one of three conditions set by the federal government last August 15 when it agreed to renew Lynas’ operating licence for another six months.
The Pahang government had last week confirmed giving Lynas the approval to build the facility in Bukit Ketam.
The rare-earth producer is also required to relocate the operations of its cracking and leaching facility out of the country within four years and to cease all research and development on a soil conditioner fashioned from its residues.