Malaysia: Heads will Roll on Controversial Lynas Plant Residue Issue

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 14, 2012 5:54 PM EST

Opponents to the controversial Lynas rare earths processing plant in Malaysia now clamored for the resignation of the four ministers who approved the awarding of the temporary operating license (TOL) to Australian miner Lynas Corp after the latter denied the existence of a provision in its licence which states that the plant's residue must be shipped out of Malaysia.

Lynas Corp said moving the plant's waste residue out of Malaysia was an arrangement not stipulated in its TOL, maintaining what it had earlier announced months before was that it could remove the waste but only voluntarily.

It further argued it never said it will ship back to Australia the waste, much more that converting the plant's waste to commercial products is likewise only voluntary and non-binding.

The confusion and controversy surrounding the waste disposal has urged the plant's opponents to call for the heads of the four ministers responsible for the Lynas project and its TOL. These included Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili; Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai; International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas.

Opponents likewise urged the Malaysian government to release to the public the contents and details of the TOL awarded to Lynas Corp.

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