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Lynas wants to use residue to rehabilitate disused mines

Inside a  disused tin mine in Sungai Lembing, Kuantan.

Inside a disused tin mine in Sungai Lembing, Kuantan.

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — August 3, 2019: Lynas Corporation Limited has assured the government that it has a plan to reuse its rare-earth residue if it is allowed to be kept in the country.

In a statement today, the company pointed out that its residue, which is a low-radioactive iron phosphate substance, can be safely reused as a soil conditioner to rehabilitate disused mines in the country.

“There are a number of disused mines in the State of Pahang that require rehabilitation and a PDF (permanent disposal facility) can be designed such that it assists in the rehabilitation of this land, providing environmental benefits in a sustainable way,” read Lynas’ statement

Lynas’ clarification on how it will not simply stash away its residue in a PDF came on the heels of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent remark about the company’s residue management.

Lynas welcomed the statement by Dr Mahathir as it was consistent with the explicit greenlight that he had given in late June where he said that Malaysia would lose a very big investment from Australia if Lynas’ plant in Gebeng, Kuantan was to be shut down.

Lynas’ statement was jointly-signed by its managing director and vice-president Datuk Mashal Ahmad and general manager for radiation safety, regulations and compliance Professor Dr Ismail Bahari.

The company was caught in a tangle following contradictory directives from the government that did not tally with the recommendations from a scientific committee that had reviewed the company’s rare-earth processing operation last year.

While the government in November last year had directed Lynas to ship out its residue if it wants operating license renewed, Dr Mahathir’s statement last week indicated that such prerequisite had been rescinded.

Lynas’ critics have been intensifying their campaign against the company and had even warned the Pakatan Harapan government that it will be punished over the issue in the next general election.

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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 [email protected]