Bauxite mining operations not far from our plant, says Lynas

The Lynas Malaysia plant operates in the Gebeng industrial estate near Kuantan port. (Facebook pic)

KUANTAN: Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Lynas) has rebutted an allegation that its plant in Gebeng is far from bauxite mining sites.

Lynas radiation safety, regulations and compliance general manager Prof Dr Ismail Bahari said in a statement today that the bauxite mining operations – before the implementation of the moratorium – were carried out a short distance from its plant.

“In fact, two previously-used bauxite mining pits are located within 1km of the Lynas Malaysia plant,” he said.

Ismail was responding to media reports quoting Malaysian Nature Society Pahang chairperson Noor Jehan Abu Bakar as saying that the bauxite mines and stockpiles are far from the Lynas plant, about 15km-37km away.

The distance of the bauxite sites was spotlighted after Lynas suggested that bauxite mining activity could be the reason for contamination of groundwater near its plant.

The executive review committee, appointed by the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry, in its report submitted in December 2018, only suggested that further research be conducted on the findings of excessive levels of heavy metals in the groundwater.

The committee, which consisted of experts in various fields, did not point a finger at Lynas in its findings.

Ismail said after starting its operations in 2012, Lynas had welcomed over 17,000 visitors to its plant and hopes more will come to get a better picture of its operations.

“We continue to hope that all members of the parliamentary caucus committee will accept our invitation to visit our plant or meet with the management to ensure they have accurate information about our operations,” he said.

Ismail also reiterated Lynas’ stand that all assessments of their operations should be based on scientific facts and evidence from qualified experts, and not unsupported assertions by unqualified people.