KUANTAN: Lynas Malaysia says the need for a secure landfill for its neutralisation underflow (NUF) is critical seeing that 1,145 tonnes of the residue is generated per day.
The rare earth materials producer said proceeding with the build option would enable the continued use of its existing dry storage facility (DSF) with its function supported and complemented by an additional four DSF.
"This will allow the NUF to be stored effectively while awaiting approval from the relevant agencies for its commercialisation. Environmental impacts are expected in the form of surface and groundwater contamination and reduced air quality among others.
"However, such impacts will only materialise should the mitigating measures are not implemented effectively," Lynas said in its environmental impact assessment report for the proposed onsite secure landfill for the storage of NUF solids.
It said construction of the secured landfill would be confined within a continuous area in the eastern section of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) over a period of 10 years.
It would comprise of DSF 1 to DSF 5 with DSF 1 already constructed and in operation in the southern section of the site.
The report revealed that DSF 2 had just recently been approved for construction in February.
"Following this will either be DSF 3 or DSF 4 in either 2021 or 2020 respectively. Construction of DSF 5 on the other hand is expected to commence in November 2025," it said.
As to the future plan in dealing with the NUF, Lynas said through diligent and extensive research and development efforts, it managed to develop two types of products utilising LAMP's process residue; as road base material and as the soil conditioner product known as CondiSoil.
"As road base material, the product is found to be a suitable substitute for aggregates and sand and usable in road construction and landfill material in land reclamation and rehabilitation.
"As a soil conditioner, CondiSoil is composed of water leach purification (WLP), NUF and filler material at a ratio of 1:2:7. As NUF is highly rich in gypsum, it provides much needed nutrients to the soil in the form of magnesium, sulphide, calcium and phosphorus.
"Aside from being a great limiting agent, the calcium sulphate in CondiSoil also helps combat aluminium toxicity in the soil," it said.
The report said research on the viability of NUF as soil conditioner was pre-approved by the Department of Environment (DoE) and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and was conducted in collaboration with various academic and research institutes as well as independent bodies, in and out of the country.
"Due to the favourable outcome of these researches, commercialisation efforts for the product will commence once the approval for the Special Management of Scheduled Waste from DoE is received," it said.
On the impact of this project, Lynas said the main environmental concerns were related to geotechnical stability, groundwater contamination and surface level water quality.
"The other areas of potential impacts namely air quality, noise generation, ecology and socio-economy were determined to be not significant. The assessment demonstrate that all the potential impacts to the surrounding environment were predicted to be minimised and mitigated to within acceptable levels and comply with the stipulated environmental standards and guidelines," it said.
Lynas concluded that careful planning and adherence to sound mining practices and design, combined with prudent implementation of all recommended mitigating and control measures would reduce the predicted adverse impacts to a low level of significance.
The report is currently available for perusal at DoE in Putrajaya, Pahang DoE, the DoE branch in Gebeng, Kuantan Municipal Council, Kuantan police station, Mukim Sungai Karang penghulu office, Kuantan district office, AELB office in Kemaman, Kuantan library and the Beserah police station.
The public can scrutinise the report until April 4 and submit their feedback to the DoE by April 19.
The report can also be accessed at enviro.doe.gov.my