Ongkili Board acted correctly in giving TOL

PUTRAJAYA: The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had acted within its powers in granting a two-year temporary operating license (TOL) for the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP), said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.

He said the Kuantan High Court's decision to grant leave to two groups to challenge his ministry's decision not to revoke the TOL did not in any way stop the AELB from doing its job.

"(There is) nothing from the courts that forbids, restrains AELB from executing its duty and responsibility," he said in a text message yesterday.

Ongkili was responding to queries by anti-Lynas groups, who had questioned the rationale behind the issuance of the TOL when there an ongoing court case on the matter is still pending.

Stop Lynas Coalition chairman Andansura Rabu claimed that AELB's decision on Wednesday to grant Lynas the TOL was in contempt of court, as the court had on Aug 28 granted leave to the two groups to challenge the ministry's decision not to revoke the TOL Ongkili, whose ministry oversees AELB's operations, however, disagreed and repeated the board's assurances that every single aspect surrounding the project had been considered.

"The AELB is independent. It has considered all aspects of science, technology, environmental and health concerns expressed by all parties in arriving at its decisions. Further, Lynas has fulfilled all conditions imposed on the TOL," he said.

Ongkili declined to elaborate further on the AELB's decision, pointing out that he would address whatever concerns raised over the decision after a briefing by the board today.

The AELB had on Wednesday announced that a two-year TOL had been issued to Lynas rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang, after it was satisfied that the Australian mining company had fulfilled all technical aspects as well as regulatory requirements.

This included dust control measures and radioactivity immobilisation methodologies in its residue management system.

The board added that Lynas had made a commitment to remove water leach purification residue from Malaysia.

Lynas Corp executive chairman Nicholas Curtis said the plant was expected to commence transport of rare earth concentrate into the country next month, following the issuance of the TOL

On-going dispute: A worker walking at the site of Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang. - AP

Resource: The Star, Page: 18
Date: Friday, 7 September 2012

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