Letter to Editor
ON Thursday (Feb 16), Lynas Rare Earths submitted its appeal to the Malaysian Government on the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s (AELB) decision not to consider Lynas’ application for the removal of licence conditions that prohibit the import and processing of lanthanide concentrate from July 1, 2023.
These conditions represented a significant variation from the conditions under which the previous four operating licences were issued and the conditions under which Lynas was invited to invest in Malaysia.
Lynas is surprised former energy, technology, science, climate change and environment minister Yeo Bee Yin, who responsible for announcing these conditions in 2020, is commenting on an ongoing appeals process.
Yeo’s own 2018 Executive Review Committee found Lynas to be low risk and compliant with relevant regulations. The Review Committee appointed directly by the ex-minister did not recommend the closure of the cracking and leaching plant.
Lynas always seeks to be a lawful and compliant company. Within this context, the announcement referred to by Yeo advised shareholders that Lynas was taking steps to comply with the licence conditions applied in March 2020.
Lynas has, at all times, reserved our right to appeal the conditions.
The forced closure of the cracking and leaching plant at Lynas Malaysia will result in the loss of hundreds of direct jobs, thousands of jobs in the community, and hundreds of million ringgit in local expenditure.
It is sad to see the politicisation of what an uncontroversial mineral-processing operation. This is especially so when Malaysia has an established tin mining and amang processing industry that deals with material, minerals and residues with much higher radioactivity.
Lynas has only ever sought to be treated fairly and equitably, in line with other companies in Malaysia, and for decisions to be made based on scientific evidence.
Prior to Yeo’s varying the licence conditions, Lynas had invested millions of ringgit in research and development for circular economy uses of the processing residue.
Water leach purification (WLP) residue has very low level naturally occurring radioactivity, comparable to the rock phosphate that Malaysia imports for fertiliser.
It was also proven by accredited laboratories and established research institutions in Malaysia to be safe for use as a soil conditioner.
Research findings were reported to the relevant regulators and published in peer reviewed international journals. – Feb 17, 2023
Amanda Lacaze is CEO & managing director Lynas Rare Earths.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Reuters