Lynas to relocate waste processing operation out

Lynas to relocate waste processing operation out

PUCHONG: Lynas Malaysia appears certain in its plans to relocate its rare earth plant’s radioactive waste processing operations out of Malaysia after obtaining funding via a 10-year loan extension with the company’s long-term partner Japan Australia Rare Earths BV (JARE).

“This 10-year extension of the loan facility with JARE provides funding certainty for the further investment in downstream processing at Lynas Malaysia, as well as the relocation of first-stage processing – cracking and leaching – from Malaysia to Western Australia over the next five years.

“Once the new cracking and leaching plant is operational, the material shipped to Malaysia for processing will not include naturally-occurring radioactive material,” said Lynas Malaysia in a statement.

Its managing director and vice president Mashal Ahmad said the funding is meant for further investments in downstream processing at the rare earth plant in Malaysia.

“Rare earths are also essential to Malaysia’s growing electronics industry in Penang and the Malaysian automotive industry.

“As the world’s second largest producer of rare earths products, Lynas can help attract further investment in the downstream supply chain in Malaysia, which can position the country as the manufacturing hub of products made from rare earths,” he said. 

The company had promised to transfer the processing of its waste, which contains low level naturally-occurring radioactive material to somewhere near Lynas’ Western Australian rare earth mine within five years.

The resulting radioactive-free material will then be sent to Malaysia for further processing. 

This was a condition for the renewal of the company’s operating license stipulated by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

Pakatan Harapan had a very anti Lynas stance prior to GE14. Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh of PKR who is also Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department and Bentong MP Wong Tack of the DAP have been the chief critics of Lynas.

At present, rare earth material that Lynas extracts from its Western Australia mine is processed at the Gebeng facility in Pahang for processing.

Yesterday the company CEO, Amanda Lacaze said that the process of moving Lynas back to Australia would cost about RM1.5 billion.

“But it will not in any way reduce our commitment to Malaysia. Out operations here have made Malaysia a centre of excellence in rare earth processing.

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