Protests as Lynas plant gets three more years

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KUANTAN: The operating licence for a controversial rare earth refinery here has been renewed for three years until September 2019, the Australian mining company Lynas Corporation announced yesterday.

The announcement drew criticism from the Himpunan Hijau pressure group, which accused the Federal Government of being willing to sacrifice the people’s wellbeing in order “to protect a foreign corporate coloniser”.

Lynas said the renewal followed a review by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and other regulatory bodies.

The company claimed that its operational data showed no increase in background radiation levels, no adverse impact on the nearby residents of Kuantan or the surrounding village. Water discharges have been measured to be safe, it said, according to Star Online.

However the anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas criticised the company’s assumption that the community here was merely concerned with radiation.

The group said Lynas’s commitments and written undertakings about the management of the radioactive water leach purification waste, and a location for permanent disposal, had yet to be fulfilled.

Himpunan Hijau said today the group was “appalled and disgusted” that the government had allowed Lynas to continue “to illegally pile up massive amount of toxic radioactive wastes on our land for a shocking three more years.”

The group’s spokesman, Wong Tack, said Lynas did not comply with the recommendations of the International
Atomic Energy Agency and still did not have a waste disposal facility.

Lynas had failed to keep their written promise to send toxic radioactive waste back to Australia, and no Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment on the plant had yet been carried out.

Wong Tack said Lynas had failed to recycle toxic radioactive waste into a commercial product as promised.