PETALING JAYA: Australia has welcomed the Malaysian government's intention to renew the operating license of Lynas Malaysia, says its High Commissioner, Andrew Goledzinowski.
"We welcome the comments made in Tokyo by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, that it is his government's intention to renew the operating license of Lynas Malaysia," said Goledzinowski in a statement.
On Thursday (May 30), Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia will allow Australian rare earths producer Lynas Corp to keep operating its rare earths processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang.
Dr Mahathir's comments has removed the uncertainty that had been hanging over the future of Lynas' US$800mil (RM3.35bil) plant, after Malaysia halted the process for renewing its license because of waste disposal concerns.
Lynas is the only significant producer outside China of rare earths, the name for a group of 17 metals used in batteries, computers, televisions and smartphones.
"This comes after confirmation by Lynas that it is preparing to relocate the cracking and leaching part of its processing to Western Australia.
"We look forward to receiving further details of license renewal decision in due course," added Goledzinowski.
In a separate statement, Lynas Corporation also welcomed the comments made by the Prime Minister.
"We will update the market, as we receive further clarification from the Malaysian government," said its secretary Andrew Arnold.
Meanwhile, MCA Publicity Bureau deputy chairperson Datuk Leong Kim Soon slammed Bentong MP Wong Tack, calling on Wong to push the Pakatan Harapan government for the closure of Lynas processing plant as promised prior to the 14th General Election.
He said Wong had repeatedly pinned the blame on Australia, but it was clear now that the Pakatan government had no intention of pulling the plug on Lynas.
"Since Wong claimed that in the past six years, Lynas has not been complying with the agreed terms and conditions, as well as enforcement authorities and Barisan Nasional's alleged incompetence in holding them accountable, ultimately resulting in a breach of contract, the logical response would be to follow through his claims and shut down the plant," said Leong in another statement.
"He (Wong) only has to fulfil his original promise of shutting down Lynas," added Leong.