Decision on Lynas licence in 2 weeks

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision whether to issue a temporary operating licence (TOL) to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng will be announced within the next two weeks.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said he had received updates from the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) over submissions against the plant by nearby residents.

"I have gotten several updates and have reviewed 14 submissions during the appeal hearing and will hopefully make an announcement in the next two weeks." The hearing of the appeal was held on April 17, presided by Ongkili after the issuance of the TOL was postponed in accordance with Section 16(5) of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984.

Ongkili heard submissions from the "Save Malaysia Stop Lynas" chairman Tan Bun Teet and three others.

He concluded that there were certain issues that required further feedback from AELB and relevant specialists over the TOL issuance.

"Under the Act, I have the power to call for further feedback if I am not satisfied with the findings and will then decide on the next course of action." He said the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) ended its last public hearing on the issue on Monday.

"But, the licence issuance does not need the PSC’s approval and I do not have to wait for them," Ongkili said after launching and handing out appointment letters to the National Bioethics Council members yesterday.

The final report by the PSC will be tabled in Parliament on June 14.

The Lynas rare earth plant has raised fears of radiation pollution and has faced many protests over the past year despite the Australian mining company reassuring the public that it had met local and international safety standards.

Once the RM2.5 billion project is operational, it is expected to meet 30 per cent of the global demand for rare earth materials outside China.

Date: Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Resource: The New Straits Times, Page: 11

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