The Malaysian government has announced that Lynas Malaysia’s operating licence will be renewed by the due date of 3 September 2019 for an initial period of six months.
|Two out of the four 60-metre-long gas fired kilns where the rare earth concentrate/acid mixture is “cracked” to become rare earth sulphate suitable for water leaching, Kuantan, Malaysia.|
The extension was granted on the proviso that Lynas Malaysia fulfils certain conditions during that period including relocating its cracking and leaching to Western Australia.
As announced on 21 May 2019, Lynas will move cracking and leaching – the first stage of its operations currently located in Malaysia – to Western Australia as part of its 2025 growth plan. Under the new licence, Lynas is required to complete the relocation within four years.
Once the transition to Western Australia is complete, water leach purification (WLP) residue will no longer be produced in Malaysia.
Additionally, Lynas will build Permanent Deposit Facility (PDF) for WLP residue, with the company required to obtain consent for the location of the facility within six months.
Lynas Malaysia said in a statement that it is “confident of satisfying this condition and will accelerate planning and construction of the PDF”.
This is consistent with the recommendation of the Pakatan Harapan government’s Executive Review Committee in December 2018. Alternatively, Lynas can obtain consent from another country to receive the material.
Lynas Malaysia’s PDF Planning Framework and Site Selection Plan have previously been approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). In addition, the Pahang State Government has given written approval to locate a PDF in the State of Pahang.
Lynas has previously deposited a total of US$42.2 million with the AELB in cash and cash-backed bonds and was also required to spend 0.5 per cent of annual gross sales on research and development.
Under the new licence, Lynas is no longer required to spend 0.5 per cent on research and development, however, this same percentage is to be submitted to the Government of Malaysia as an additional security until cracking and leaching commences operations in Australia.
The relevant portion of these security amounts is expected to be available for the PDF construction project.
The Malaysian regulator has confirmed final approval of the long-term solution for neutralisation underflow (NUF) residue, which was originally announced on 14 February 2019.
Lynas Corporation CEO and Managing Director, Amanda Lacaze thanked the Malaysian Government for its decision “which was based on the scientific recommendations of its Executive Review Committee”.
“We reaffirm the company’s commitment to our people, 97 per cent of whom are Malaysian, and to further developing Malaysia’s position as a global Rare Earths centre of excellence.
“Lynas will continue to make a positive contribution to the Malaysian economy and to Malaysia’s Industry 4.0 vision. We hope the decision will encourage other international businesses to invest in downstream manufacturing in Malaysia.
“We are optimistic that this decision will bring an end to the politicisation of Lynas over the past year. We look forward to continuing to be an active member of our communities and we will work closely with community members to ensure that they have up to date and accurate information about our operations.”