‘Yeo’s panel found Lynas to be compliant with rules’

KUANTAN: Australian rare earth materials producer Lynas Rare Earths has pointed out that former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin’s own executive review committee found Lynas to be low risk and compliant with relevant regulations.

Lynas chief executive officer and managing director Amanda Lacaze said the 2018 review committee appointed directly by the former minister did not recommend the closure of the cracking and leaching plant here.

“The forced closure of the cracking and leaching plant at Lynas Malaysia will result in the loss of hundreds of direct jobs, thousands of jobs in the community, and hundreds of million ringgit in local expenditure.

“It is sad to see the politicisation of what is an uncontroversial minerals processing operation. This is especially so when Malaysia has an established tin mining and amang processing industry that deals with material, minerals and residues with much higher radioactivity,” Lacaze said yesterday.

She was responding to a statement from Yeo, who lauded the government’s decision to stand its ground in continuing to impose a prohibition of cracking and leaching on Lynas.

Yeo, who is the Puchong MP, said it was the “right move” in spite of intense lobbying from many fronts.

Yeo said Lynas had announced in 2020 that they were able to satisfy the conditions imposed and that they would build their cracking and leaching facilities in Kalgoorlie, Australia.

However, Yeo said three years later, Lynas was again fighting very hard to escape from the conditions imposed on them.

Referring to Yeo’s statement, Lacaze said Lynas reserved its right to appeal the conditions.

“Lynas always seeks to be a lawful and compliant company. Within this context, the announcement referred to by the ex-minister advised shareholders that Lynas was taking steps to comply with the licence conditions applied in March 2020.

“Lynas has, at all times, reserved our right to appeal the conditions,” she said.

Lacaze said Lynas had on Thursday submitted its appeal to the government on the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s decision not to consider Lynas’ application for the removal of the conditions.

She expressed surprise that Yeo, who was responsible for announcing the conditions in 2020, was commenting on an ongoing appeal process.

“Lynas has only ever sought to be treated fairly and equitably, in line with other companies in Malaysia, and for decisions to be made based on scientific evidence.

“Prior to the ex-minister varying the licence conditions, Lynas had invested millions of ringgit in research and development for circular economy uses of the processing residue.

“Water leach purification residue has very low level naturally occurring radioactivity, comparable to the rock phosphate that Malaysia imports for fertiliser, and was proven by accredited laboratories and established research institutions in Malaysia to be safe for use as a soil conditioner,” she said, adding that these research findings were also reported to the relevant regulators and published in peer reviewed international journals.

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