Fuziah calls for Lynas' licence not to be renewed after Australia refuses to accept radioactive waste import

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 May 2019

KUANTAN: Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh is calling for Lynas' operating licence not to be renewed, following reports that the Western Australia government will not accept the import of radioactive waste.

The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said it was clear that the rare earth materials producer knew about the policy from the beginning, and always had the intention to pile its radioactive wastes in Malaysia.

"This is despite that one time in 2012 that they signed a letter of undertaking to send its radioactive waste back to Australia.

"This is utterly regrettable. Lynas should not be given licence to continue operating after September 2019, until its radioactive waste management issue is resolved," said Fuziah.

She added that should Lynas carried on as usual, then its radioactive waste would continue to grow with a lack of management plan.

It was reported that Western Australia mines minister Bill Johnston had ruled out any possible import of radioactive waste into the state, where Lynas mined its rare earth ore.

News portal The Australian reported Johnston as saying that there were laws already in place, ruling out any such move.

However, Lynas Malaysia managing director Datuk Mashal Ahmad refuted claims that the ban only applied to the mining company.

Mashal said that both Australia and Malaysia had similar prohibitions on the import of waste from raw materials that had undergone value-added processing abroad.

Following a review of Lynas' operations last year, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry decided that the accumulated water leach purification (WLP) residue, which contained radioactive materials, must be removed from Malaysia as an additional pre-condition to Lynas' licence renewal.

Minister Yeo Bee Yin previously said the decision was because there was no viable near-term solution to manage the accumulated residue at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

As of December last year, there were 451,564 tonnes of WLP and 1.113 million tonnes of neutralisation underflow (NUF) residue accumulated at LAMP.

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