KUALA LUMPUR – December 14, 2018: Lynas Corporation Ltd. has clarified that the letters of undertaking concerning the removal of its residue that it signed in 2012 requires the company to first find out if the residue can be recycled.
If that fails, Lynas must then store the residue in a permanent depository facility (PDF), failing which the residue must be taken out of Malaysia, explained the company in a statement today following a claim that the letters were proof of Lynas’ non-compliance.
“The letter signed by the then Lynas executive chairman on February 23, 2012, explicitly states that Lynas Corporation Australia hereby gives a full undertaking to, if necessary, remove from Malaysia all wastes generated by the Lynas Advance Material Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, during the temporary operating licence’s (TOL) period,” says the statement.
The Atomic Energy Licensing Board had issued three consecutive operating licences to Lynas — the September 2012 to September 2014 TOL, and the September 2014 to September 2016 and September 2016 to September 2019 full operating licences.
The issue of residue-removal non-compliance was highlighted by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin yesterday when she questioned the commitment of Lynas to remove its residue from Malaysia.
While Yeo claimed that it would only cost Lynas about 10 per cent of its earnings to export the residue, the company retorted that her figures were inaccurate and that she misquoted the analysts who Yeo based her arguments from.
“The analyst also referenced Lynas’ security deposit paid to the Malaysian government’s AELB (not insurance) which had, as one of its purposes, the establishment of a permanent deposit facility.
“In reaching his view, the analyst had assumed that this deposit would be used to pay for some of the cost of exporting the WLP (Lynas’ residue), on the basis that a permanent deposit facility would no longer be required,” states Lynas.
The company’s latest tangle with the ministry happened after the latter ordered it to export its WLP residue which contradicts an independent review committee’s recommendation that the residue be permanently stored in a PDF, which it is currently working on.
In the review from the committee formed by the ministry, Lynas earned a favourable verdict and was vindicated from any malpractice but yet the ministry made decisions contradicting the committee’s findings and recommendations, something which Lynas finds most inappropriate.