Yeo postpones Aussie meeting on Lynas waste

The Lynas rare earth processing plant in Kuantan, Pahang. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Energy and environment minister Yeo Bee Yin has delayed a visit to Australia to discuss rare earth miner Lynas Corp’s storage of radioactive waste in Malaysia, according to a ministry spokesman.

The trip, initially scheduled for this week, has been postponed “pending further developments”, the spokeswoman said today.

Yeo was due to meet Bill Johnston, Western Australia state’s minister for mines, tomorrow to discuss the removal of the radioactive waste from Malaysia.

Johnston said Western Australia will not accept the waste, Australian media reported earlier this month.

Australia-listed Lynas, the only significant producer of rare earths outside of China, is waiting on renewal of the operating licence for its US$800 million processing plant in Pahang. The licence expires in September.

The environment ministry set conditions in December for Lynas to remove its waste stockpiles before it would renew its operating licence.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last month that Lynas would be allowed to keep operating in Malaysia.

The environment ministry has said it wants to discuss ways to manage the low-level radioactive residue produced by Lynas at its rare earth processing plant.