Lynas may begin its operations by year end

PETALING JAYA: Lynas (M) Sdn Bhd could be awarded a temporary operating licence (TOL) before the end of this year, allowing it to start operations at its rare earths plant - if it fulfils all seven licensing conditions set by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

"If the authorities are satisfied that the conditions have been met, then the matter will be brought to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for a decision on the TOL," a senior official told The Star.

The source said, of the seven licensing conditions imposed on Lynas, two that were announced by minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili on June 15 were the most important.

The conditions are that Lynas must submit to the AELB a method to immobilise radioactive elements in the residue to be disposed in the event excessive residue is stored in the residue storage facility; that Lynas must submit an emergency response plan to control release of dust from the residue into the environment.

The source said the authorities would study the 31 recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) in its report on Tuesday, which concluded that the company should be awarded a TOL after finding that it had met the requirements.

Lynas said yesterday it had submitted to the AELB on June 19 its plans to satisfy the two licensing conditions.

"Lynas looks forward to the finalisation of the AELB's requirements in relation to those conditions, and the issuance of the TOL as soon as possible," it said in a statement.

"Throughout our time in Malaysia, we have worked to be completely transparent, and to provide full and comprehensive details about every aspect of our operations and to satisfy government and community concerns," Lynas executive chairman Nicholas Curtis was quoted as saying in the statement while welcoming the PSC report.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohmed said adequate research had been done to ensure the Lynas plant was not a threat to public safety.

"The PSC has recommended that waste generated be disposed of at a location outside the country. We expect that the AELB will take heed of this and make it a condition for the granting of a TOL," he said in a statement.

In KUANTAN, a group of 43 NGOs has emerged, expressing its support for Government policies on the Lynas project.

The group, calling itself Gabungan NGO Pahang Mendukung Agenda Untuk Nasional, urged anti-Lynas groups to respect the PSC's findings.

"We hope there will no more aggressive movements to oppose the project as it will affect the country's development," its co-ordinator Wan Emril Nizam Wan Embong said at a press conference.

Resource: The Star, Page: 8
Date: Thursday, 21 June 2012

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