Australian miner Lynas Corp. may already receive the highly disputed temporary operating license (TOL) for its Malaysian rare earths processing plant before the year ends, depending on how fast it can expedite its compliance to the conditions needed to release the TOL.
Gas cleaning system for the Rotary Kilns at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan, Malaysia
This week, Lynas Corp. received a back-to-back victory when its rare earths plant received the environmental approval and backing from both the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). The PSC even urged for the immediate release of the TOL to finally ignite the much delayed rare earths plant.
Lynas Corp. is set to provide the first new source of supply of rare earths outside of China when it comes online.
Both Malaysian bodies said they found the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan safe. Although both also admitted finding the plant to be carrying certain radiation levels, this however was very minimal and not harmful.
But it is still not quite a relatively clean winning sweep, so to speak. MOSTI set two more additional conditions for Lynas Corp. to comply with, while the PSC came out with 31 recommendations.
Of the two government bodies, it is fulfilling with the MOSTI's requirements that the Australian rare earths miner should primarily focus on.
Citing an unnamed source, www.thestar.com.my reported that of the now seven conditions, the two recently announced by MOSTI Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili were the most crucial.
"If the authorities are satisfied that the conditions have been met, then the matter will be brought to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for a decision on the TOL," www.thestar.com.my quoted a senior official.
"Lynas looks forward to the finalization of the AELB's requirements in relation to those conditions, and the issuance of the TOL as soon as possible," the Australian rare earths miner said in a statement, noting it had submitted on June 19 to the AELB its plans to meet the additional latest two licensing conditions.
"Throughout our time in Malaysia, we have worked to be completely transparent, and to provide full and comprehensive details about every aspect of our operations and to satisfy government and community concerns," Nick Curtis, executive chairman of Lynas Corp., said in the statement upon release of the PSC report.
The two new additional conditions required Lynas Corp. to must submit to the AELB a method to immobilize radioactive elements in the residue to be disposed in the event excessive residue is stored in the residue storage facility, as well as an emergency response plan to control release of dust from the residue into the environment.
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