Lynas claims given leeway to import, process lanthanide concentrate in Malaysia until next year


KUANTAN: Lynas Rare Earths Ltd claims that its licence to import and process lanthanide concentrate at its Malaysian operation is now valid until Jan 1 next year.

The Australian rare earth materials producer said the change was made by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang in response to the appeals filed by Lynas under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984.

However, Lynas said the minister had otherwise dismissed the appeals.

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"The licence variation allows the Lynas Malaysia cracking and leaching plant to continue to operate until Jan 1, 2024, and will remove the requirement for a shutdown at the Lynas Malaysia plant prior to Jan 1, 2024.

"Lynas had applied to the Mosti Minister for the removal of the conditions which limit operations at the Lynas Malaysia facility as they represent a significant variation from the conditions under which Lynas made the initial decision to invest in Malaysia.

"Further, the conditions do not follow the recommendations of the Malaysian government’s 2018 Executive Review Committee report on Lynas Malaysia's operations, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board's own audits of Lynas Malaysia's operations or any of the three prior independent expert scientific reviews of Lynas Malaysia's operations," said the company in a statement on Monday (May 8).

ALSO READ: Lynas may temporarily shut down Malaysian operations if licensing prohibitions continue

Lynas had previously said it was planning for either a temporary shutdown of its Malaysian operation or a period of very low production if licence conditions prohibiting the import and processing of lanthanide concentrate remain effective on July 1.

This was after Chang announced in February that Lynas had been informed of the decision by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board, where its request to drop four conditions related to cracking and leaching activities, the generation of water leach purification (WLP) residues and the importation of lanthanide concentrates from Australia was not considered.

This meant that Lynas would no longer be allowed to carry out activities that would produce radioactive waste in Malaysia after July 2023.

ALSO READ: Over 200 Lynas workers fear for their jobs after ban

Lynas said Malaysia offers legal avenues for the review of the licence conditions.

"Lynas has made significant investments in its Malaysian facility and will seek review through these processes in respect of the conditions to ensure that Lynas is treated fairly and equitably as a foreign direct investor and as a significant employer and contributor to the Malaysian economy," it said.

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Lynas , AELB , Mosti , rare earth , lanthanide

   

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