The choice to construct the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia rather than in Meenar, Western Australia as earlier contained in the blueprint of Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp. stemmed from "a business decision," the company's general counsel told a Malaysian news agency on Thursday.
"A business decision was made to locate the secondary proposed processing plant at Gebeng in Malaysia," Andrew Arnold, general counsel of Lynas Corp., said in an official statement to the Free Malaysia Today.
Lynas Corp. chose to relocate its rare earths processing plant outside of Australia, particularly out of Western Australia, because the latter lacked the potential industrial zone that carries the benefits similar to the Gebeng Industrial Estate, Mr Arnold explained.
Gebeng in Kuantan, Malaysia, according to Mr Arnold, already has an established industrial estate present with key infrastructure, support industries and skilled workforce required for the operations of the LAMP facility.
According to www.investinpahang.gov.my, the Gebeng Industrial Estate is a world-class chemical and petrochemical industrial zone boasting of excellent infrastructure and facilities spread over a total of 8,600 hectares of land and is strategically located 5 kilometres away from the Kuantan Port.
It has the Gebeng bypass, which eases traffic flow from the industrial estate to Kuantan Port, links Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan directly via the East Coast Highway, providing a cost effective and convenient means of transportation that would allow more efficient transfer of freight and raw materials locally as well as for international channels. The industrial estate also has a 9-kilometre common pipe-rack that connects the petrochemical plants to and from the tank farm facilities at Kuantan Port and its liquid chemical berths to facilitate safer and faster transportation of petrochemical products between the two areas.
A number of multinational corporations are already present in the Gebeng Industrial Estate, including BP Chemicals, BASF Petronas Chemicals and Kaneka, to name a few.
At the same time, Mr Arnold belied claims made by the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA), an Australian non-government organisation, that Lynas chose to construct the LAMP facility in Malaysia to "save money" and be able to operate under less stringent laws.
"Malaysia's laws concerning radiation are equivalent to, and in some cases, stricter than international standards," Mr Arnold said.
The general counsel likewise belittled ANAWA's presumptions on the supposed legality of the LAMP's presence in Malaysia vis-à-vis the original submitted blueprint 14 years ago to Western Australia, or the temporary operating license issued to the LAMP by the Malaysian authorities in early February.
"Any such claims demonstrate a lack of understanding of the relevant approval processes and the facts," he said. "The approval processes for Meenar and Western Australia are separate processes."
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