Govt to decide on Lynas’ appeal by mid-August

Lynas’ current permission to store the NUF on-site is valid until Feb 15, 2020, while its full operating stage licence expires this September

pic by BLOOMBERG

THE government will decide on Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s appeal over the licensing condition related to the disposal of toxic chemicals in August this year.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) deputy minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis said the government needs more input before making a decision.

Isnaraissah was responding to a question by Khairy Jamaluddin (Barisan Nasional-Rembau) about Lynas’ status at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Lynas had appealed to the federal government against a precondition which mandates the Australia-based company to ship back its radioactive waste to Australia in order to renew its operating licence.

Lynas mines rare earths in the state of Western Australia and ships them for processing to Malaysia. Australian government has refused to accept the waste. The government said it will allow Lynas’ rare earth refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan, to continue operating, if it removes and disposes of its processing by-products from the country, particularly the controversial water leach purification (WLP) residue.

Lynas must first remove the accumulated 451,564 metric tonnes of WLP which contains radioactive materials from Malaysia. Secondly, Lynas also must submit an action plan for the disposal of 1.1 million tonnes of non-radio-active neutralisation underflow residue (NUF) scheduled waste.

Lynas’ current permission to store the NUF on-site is valid until Feb 15 next year, while its full operating stage licence expires this September.

During his trip to Tokyo in May, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will allow Lynas to continue operating in the country. It was reported then that Lynas was optimistic that their operating licence will be extended before September.

Meanwhile, Isnaraissah said Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has resolved 98% of the 18,905 complaints related to the overcharging of electricity bills as at July 3.

The Energy Commission had previously reported a spike in complaints related to high electricity bills.

The government had not ruled out elements of negligence on the part of TNB that caused the electricity bills spike.

TNB said it has resolved the matter and any extra payments would be credited into the account of the users in the subsequent months.