The rare earth materials producer said the licence is subject to several key conditions, which it expects to be able to satisfy.
Among the conditions, Lynas is to begin the process of developing the permanent disposal facility (PDF) within the first year from the date of the licence approval.
Lynas is also required to submit a work development plan for the construction of the PDF and report on its development status as determined by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).
The company said in a statement that it would ensure the cracking and leaching plant outside Malaysia is in operation before July 2023.
After that period, Lynas would no longer be allowed to import raw materials containing naturally-occurring radioactive material into Malaysia, said the statement yesterday.
In the meantime, the holding of the financial deposit would be maintained for compliance with the licence conditions.
Lynas stated that it deposited a total of US$50mil (RM210mil) in cash and bank guarantees with AELB and would seek access to the money to partially pay for the PDF project.Lynas Corporation CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze thanked AELB for its decision to renew the operating licence.
“This follows Lynas Malaysia’s satisfaction of the licence renewal conditions that were announced on Aug 16, 2019. We reaffirm the company’s commitment to our people, 97% of whom are Malaysians, and to contributing to Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
“Over the past eight years, we have demonstrated that our operations are safe and that we are an excellent foreign direct investor. We have created over 1,000 direct jobs, 90% of which are skilled or semi-skilled, and we spend over RM600mil in the local economy each year,” said Lacaze in the statement.
She also confirmed Lynas’ commitment to develop its cracking and leaching facility in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
“We thank the Australian government, the government of Japan, the government of Western Australia and the city of Kalgoorlie Boulder for their ongoing support of our Kalgoorlie project,” said Lacaze.
Meanwhile, Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas chairman Tan Bun Teet questioned whether all conditions and procedures had been fulfilled before the issuance of the licence by AELB.
“Has the Department of Environment consulted with AELB on Lynas’ proposed site for its PDF? Is there a technical committee set up to scrutinise the plan? When can the public view and comment on the detailed environment impact assessment?” he asked.
“And yet the licence has been renewed before all these are put in order. Isn’t AELB jumping the gun?”
Tan called for transparency, saying that AELB must have solid grounds for renewing the operating licence and not base it on Lynas’ submission of documents and its claims of expert studies.
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