Yeo plans to meet Australian counterpart over Lynas waste


BANDAR BARU BANGI: The Lynas rare earth plant in Malaysia will be staying, and Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister (Mestecc) Yeo Bee Yin is expected to go to Australia to discuss waste management issues.

Mestecc deputy secretary general (Climate Change) Dr K Nagulendran confirmed that the minister was making plans for a trip there.

“The minister is planning to meet her counterpart to talk about how we can best manage the waste that’s coming out from the Gebeng plant.

“We are waiting for a response, and we are hoping it will be soon,” he told reporters whilst visiting GreenTech Malaysia near here on Friday (May 31).

However, he said it might take some time, as Australia just held its general election.

“The plant will stay, as Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) said, but for us as a ministry, we are only concerned about environmental issues,” he said.

On reports that there was no longer any groundwater pollution at the Lynas site, he said the ministry had been monitoring the site and found levels of heavy metals to be lower than the threshold.

Nagulendran said the recent findings were different from those by the Mestecc review committee in 2016, which found the groundwater contaminated with heavy metals.

“There was a peak (in the level of heavy metals), and it was picked up by the review committee.

“After that, we continued to monitor the site, and even Lynas (was) monitored.

“It went back to normal, so it could be a certain spike that happened when there’s a disturbance in land use,” he said, adding that it’s unlikely that the cause of the pollution was Lynas.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on Thursday (May 30) that Malaysia would allow Lynas Corp to keep operating its plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

Last December, Yeo had told Lynas to honour its commitment in removing its water leach purification (WLP) residue from Malaysia.