Lynas Told Us It Was Able To Satisfy Conditions Says Ex Minister


 
Former energy, technology, science, climate change and environment minister Yeo Bee Yin says Lynas’ appeal against the conditions of its operating licence should be dismissed.PETALING JAYA: A former minister has dismissed Lynas’ appeal against the conditions of its operating licence in Malaysia, furnishing proof that the Australian rare earths miner had previously stated it was able to satisfy the conditions.
Former energy, technology, science, climate change and environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said that when Lynas’ licence was up for review four years ago, it had fought hard to lobby against keeping its word to fulfil certain conditions in the name of “economic development, jobs and foreign direct investment”.
“However, we refused to see a never-ending accumulation of radioactive waste in Malaysia, hence we placed the condition of removing all radioactive waste from the country by removing the cracking and leaching facilities within four years,” she said in a statement today.
“Under this new condition, Lynas had four years to build a cracking and leaching facility elsewhere.
“It subsequently announced that it was able to satisfy the conditions imposed by the Malaysian government and that it would build its cracking and leaching facility in Kalgoorlie, Australia.”
Yeo attached a statement from Lynas dated Feb 27, 2020, stating it was able to satisfy the condition of moving its cracking and leaching facility in Gebeng, Pahang, out of Malaysia before July this year.
The company also confirmed its commitment to develop a new facility in Kalgoorlie.
She also attached a letter of undertaking from Lynas, which stated that the company would remove all waste generated at its Gebeng plant from Malaysia if necessary during the period of its temporary operating licence.
Yeo claimed the new facility in Kalgoorlie was near completion, but Lynas intended to run both facilities in Australia and Malaysia to “maximise profit”.
“Can a company in any country decide for themselves what they need to comply with and what they don’t, according to their own liking and interest?” she said.
“In the name of economy and geopolitics, can a company be allowed to be let off the hook from its written commitment not once but twice in a dignified country?”
She lauded Putrajaya for standing its ground and continuing to impose the conditions on Lynas.
On Tuesday, Lynas announced that its operating licence in Malaysia had been renewed for three years effective March 3.
There was no change to its conditions, meaning the company will be prohibited from importing and processing rare earths after July 1.
Yesterday, Lynas Malaysia questioned why the company was being singled out by the government over concerns of radioactive waste, when it was regulated by a government agency.
Its general manager of radiation safety, Ismail Bahari, said they were regulated by the department of atomic energy.
He was responding to science, technology and innovation minister Chang Lih Kang, who said the government may revoke Lynas’ licence if it fails to comply with conditions prohibiting the production of radioactive waste in Malaysia after July 1.
In a separate statement today, Australian NGO AidWatch said it supported Putrajaya’s decision to uphold the conditions imposed on Lynas, adding that the company had no justification to expect Malaysia to accept radioactive waste when the Western Australian government had refused to do so.
“Lynas should not be disrespecting a developing country which has granted a 12-year tax break, fast tracked its production permits, and tolerated 10 years of below standard toxic and radioactive waste storage and disposal,” AidWatch chair James Goodman said.
“This is uncalled for as it is ethically, socially and ecologically irresponsible and would not be accepted within Australia.” - FMT


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