PETALING JAYA: The Prime Minister’s Office has listed three consequences of the non-renewal of Lynas’ operating licence, including the loss of over 600 Malaysian jobs and the failure to smash China’s monopoly on the export of rare earths.
The other consequence it said, in an FAQ on Lynas, was that Malaysia’s credibility as a business-friendly country for long term investments would be negatively affected.
The 14-point infographic citing information from the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry also said data and reports by government agencies and experts showed that Lynas’ operations in its plant in Gebeng, Kuantan in Pahang, was controlled and safe.
“The exposure to radiation hazards at work and the environment is below the allowed levels. Medical monitoring of radiation workers and Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in general do not show any abnormalities.
“LAMP has also monitored the effects of radiation on the local community in a 20 kilometre radius and found there is no increase in radiation risks, be it in air, water and soil samples.”
Lynas’ critics, including members of the Pakatan Harapan-led administration had in the past accused the rare earths plant of polluting its surroundings with its wastes.
In the FAQ, the PMO also said that Lynas had fulfilled all legal requirements set by the authorities and met several international standards including those for health, safety and the environment.
It also explained that as part of the conditions for its licence renewal, Lynas would have to move the cracking and leaching process overseas so that LAMP would no longer produce radioactive wastes.
Lynas will also have to identify a Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) in six months or obtain permission from the authorities of any other country to allow the export of its wastes there.
Lynas had been embroiled in controversy for several years, with environmentalists and some Pakatan Harapan politicians protesting against its plant on health grounds and calling for its closure.
On Aug 15, Putrajaya agreed to renew its licence to operate in the country for another six months subject to several conditions.