The Malaysian Court of Appeal has dismissed the latest application for injunction filed against Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp by environmentalist group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL), effectively enabling the mining firm to keep in its hand the controversial temporary operating license (TOL) on its $800-million rare earths processing plant.
In a statement on Wednesday to the Australian Securities Exchange, Lynas said the appeal was rejected by the Malaysian Court. The dismissal, however, was lodged against SMSL with costs in favour of Lynas.
The environmentalist group filed the restraining order against the use by Lynas Corp of the TOL pending a judicial review hearing on February 2013.
Originally awarded in February, it was only in September that Lynas was able to physically receive the highly coveted TOL, after a series of court battle setbacks instigated by SMSL. Lynas' rare earths TOL is effective for two years from Sept 3, 2012 to Sept 2, 2014.
Still, the Australian rare earths miner failed to immediately make use of the license because of the expected retribution of the residents and environmentalists group, who claimed the processing plant will release dangerous chemicals that would harm the local residents as well as the immediate communities and environment.
Lynas was finally able to use the TOL and fire up the plant only on end November.
The Kuantan High Court has scheduled to hear the judicial review application against Lynas' TOL on February 5. The rare earths mining firm had said it would strongly defend the process undertaken by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in dismissing the appeal under the Atomic Energy Lincencing Act amd awarding the TOL.
The judge said the decision by the Kuantan High Court was correct and with good reason. It's a small setback which we expected but the real long-term goal is winning the judicial review," Tan Bun Teet, SMSL leader, told AFP, stressing they will exert all efforts to prepare for the February 5 judicial review.
From November, Lynas anticipates a ramp-up period of three to four months until first commercial sales and subsequent cash generation.