Lynas needs to get its waste out, says Kuantan MP

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh (picture) has criticised a new report claiming that condisoil, which is made partly from the water leach purification (WLP) residue, as being safe is irresponsible and misleading.

Fuziah, who has been against the Australia’s rare-earths miner Lynas Corp’s operation in Pahang, said Lynas must accept the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) instruction that the study involving WLP must stop.

“The WLP waste must be sent back to Australia before the end of the Lynas operating licence which is in September 2019,” she said in a statement yesterday.

She was referring to a news report entitled “Lynas investments in research and development pays off” which claimed that Condisoil has been tested and found to be safe with the help of experts from universities, ministries and agencies, including the Malaysian Agr icultural Research and Development Institute and Sirim.

“The executive committee of Lynas suggested that all studies on recycling of non-radioactive neutralisation underflow residue (NUF), without the WLP residue can be continued.

“Since condisoil contains WLP material, it cannot be continued either in the form of a study or its potential use,” Fuziah said in the statement. Condisoil is said to be a combination of WLP residue and magnesium rich synthetic gypsum.

Fuziah claims that Lynas has failed to address the WLP radioactive waste in their communication.

“They are portraying it in such a way as though radioactive waste does not exist, but I do not think Lynas should waste time using this media strategy.

“Instead, it should focus on delivering the WLP radioactive waste to the country of origin of Australia as what was enacted by the ministry,” Fuziah said.

She said the Kuantan people wants Lynas to be more responsible.

To recall, last year, MESTECC instructed Lynas to remove the accumulated WLP from Malaysia and submit an action plan to dispose of its non-radioactive NUF scheduled waste in order to continue operating here.

Lynas Malaysia operates a chemical factory which refines rare-earth ores from the Lynas mine in Western Australia.

The main issue for Lynas is the toxicity of the radioactive material that builds up with every gramme of ore it refines.

Last week, Lynas appeared to be on the risk of not being able to continue its business in Malaysia due to the company’s uncertainty in meeting the timeline set by the government to export the volume of its industrial waste currently stored in temporary storage facilities on-site in Kuantan, Pahang.

In a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange last Friday, the rare-earth producer stated that the mandate set by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to remove WLP residue — is “unachievable”.

In December 2018, AELB issued a letter to Lynas, stating two new pre-conditions for the renewal of its licence.

The pre-conditions include the export of all its WLP residue before Sept 2, 2019, and the submission of an action plan on the disposal of NUF.