KUANTAN: Lynas Malaysia is confident of obtaining consent for the location of a permanent deposit facility (PDF) for its water leach purification (WLP) residue within six months.
The rare earth materials producer said it would also accelerate planning and construction of the PDF following the Cabinet decision to renew Lynas' licence for another six months effective Sept 3.
This was announced Thursday (Aug 15) by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board's (AELB) with stricter conditions imposed on Lynas, whose operating licence was originally due to expire on Sept 2.
"This is consistent with the recommendation of the Pakatan Harapan government's executive review committee in December 2018. Alternatively, Lynas can obtain consent from another country to receive the material.
"Lynas Malaysia's PDF Planning Framework and Site Selection Plan have previously been approved by the AELB. In addition, the Pahang state government has given written approval to locate a PDF in the state of Pahang," Lynas said in a statement on Friday (Aug 16).
The company said that under the new licence, Lynas would no longer be required to spend 0.5% of annual gross sales on research and development.
However, this same percentage is to be contributed to the government as an additional security until the "cracking and leaching" facility overseas commences.
"The relevant portion of these security amount is expected to be available for the PDF construction project. Further information will be provided on costs and timetable as this project progresses," said Lynas.
Among the other conditions attached to Lynas' six-month extension was the relocation of the company's cracking and leaching process out of Malaysia.
The Lynas plant is in Gebeng, some 25km from Kuantan town centre.
Lynas also has to end all research and development activities related to the use of the WLP as a soil conditioner for agriculture use.
Lynas Corporation CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze also thanked the government for its decision, which she said was based on the scientific recommendations of its executive review committee.
"We reaffirm the company's commitment to our people, 97% of whom are Malaysian, and to further developing Malaysia's position as a global rare earths centre of excellence.
"Lynas will continue to make a positive contribution to the Malaysian economy and to international businesses to invest in downstream manufacturing in Malaysia," said Lacaze.
She added that Lynas had created over 1,000 direct jobs, 90% of which were skilled or semi-skilled, and spent over RM600mil in the local economy each year.
"We are optimistic that this decision will bring an end to the politicisation of Lynas over the past year. We look forward to continuing to be an active member of our communities and we will work closely with community members to ensure that they have up to date and accurate information about our operations," said Lacaze.
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