KUALA LUMPUR — April 17, 2020: Lynas Corp. Ltd. should know within the next few days if the Malaysian government would allow the company to resume operations of its procession plant just outside Kuantan town after it shuttered temporarily on March 23 due to the movement control order (MCO) imposed five days before that.
The application to place the plant as being in the critical industry status would have gone to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry which usually takes five days to decided.
If granted this status, the plant in Gebeng can then reboot its operations, although the MCO for now has been extended to the end of the month.
In its application Lynas says that its products are essential to the supply chain of Malaysia’s key industries as some of its products are also needed by the medical services which are in the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic which resulted in the MCO,
Despite the temporary suspension of its operations, employees continue to be paid their salaries.
After some uncertainties due to political pressure, Malaysia in February granted Lynas a three-year extension of its licence, with Lynas required to build a cracking and leaching facility outside Malaysia before July 2023, after which the company will not be allowed to import raw materials containing naturally occurring radioactive material.
The company will also have to develop a permanent disposal facility for waste from rare-earths processing within the first year from the date of approval of the licence.
Lynas is the world’s largest producer of rare earths outside of China and has a mine in Mount Weld, Western Australia.