Committee promises fair review of Lynas rare earth plant


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 27 Sep 2018

Lynas and US miner Molycorp Inc have had their production stalled by the challenges of running environmentally safe, complex chemical plants. ON top of that, prices of the products have, meanwhile, slumped after China's export curbs scared manufacturers who need the metals into finding ways to reduce their use.

KUANTAN: A fair review of the Lynas rare earth refinery is one that looks out for the best interest of Kuantan residents, says Lynas evaluation committee chairman Fuziah Salleh.

Lynas had nothing to worry about if it had complied with regulatory requirements, she said, adding that those requirements were consistent with the best practices of radioactive waste management that Pakatan Harapan believed in.

“They should only worry if there is bending of rules by the previous government to accommodate them (Lynas) for whatever reasons, or if there exists non-compliance to requirements stipulated in the safety standards set out by the government and those requirements are modified later,” she said when contacted yesterday.

Fuziah, who is Kuantan MP and Deputy Minister in the Prime Min­ister’s Department, was made the chairman of a Lynas evaluation committee last week.

Responding to Lynas’ statement that her appointment would “raise concerns” since she was known as a “long-time anti-Lynas campaigner”, she said: “I cannot deny that I have views that oppose Lynas, but this is not an independent panel.

“I am representing the Pakatan government, specifically the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, and we have every right to look into Lynas’ records from day one.

“I am here not just as an anti-Lynas campaigner, otherwise the minister would not have appointed me as the chairman. The minister needed someone with comprehensive knowledge of the matter.

“If this was an independent panel, my appointment would be an issue, but this is an executive committee. We are now in a position to examine Lynas,” she said.

Asked if Lynas could expect a fair review due to her stance, Fuziah said the benchmark should be finding the best outcome for the people of Kuantan.

“What is fair is what is the best policy for the people of Kuantan. They do not deserve a plant with radioactive waste in their backyard,” she said.

On the scope of the review, she said the committee would be looking at the previous government’s policies regarding Lynas.

“We are going to open the files and find out what happened to those plans of managing the rare earth waste processing. The previous government said it would be sent back, then the plan changed to a permanent disposal facility and now Lynas wants to recycle its waste.

“We want to know what happened in between all those plans,” said Fuziah.

The committee is made up of 10 members who are experts in public health, chemical process engineering and international law, among others. It will hold its first meeting today.today.

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