Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lynas Corporation Aiming For Operating Licence

Published on Saturday November 19 2011
Although there were rumours that Lynas would be granted the pre-operating licence this week, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has yet to announce this.
Firm is ready to operate and eager to prove critics wrong, says managing director
Lynas senior manager (engineering services) Wee Tiat Eng showing the monitor of the airborne monitoring system which detects the radiation level at the plant in Gebeng. - Luqman Hakim Zubir
Lynas Corporation is hoping to get its pre-operating licence soon to prove that its plant in Gebeng is safe and not hazardous to the environment.

Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Mashal Ahmad said this was the company's immediate concern as the licence would also prove that other allegations against the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) were baseless.

"The sooner we get the licence, the faster we can do this. If we cannot prove that our operations are safe, the plant will be shut down," he said at a special briefing and visit to LAMP yesterday.

Present were Lynas Malaysia senior manager (technical services) Robin Zhang from China, and its radiological safety adviser Professor Dr Ismail Bahari of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Mashal said the first phase of the rare earth processing facility, costing about RM1.3 billion, was expected to operate in January.

"We have fulfilled all the requirements by the international and local agencies, and it will take about a month to bring in the raw material from Australia."

The two-year licence will allow the company to import and process raw material. The authorities will only grant an operating licence if they are satisfied that Lynas had fulfilled all the requirements and met the international standards.

On the continuous protests by anti-Lynas groups, Mashal said it was unfortunate the public was still being fed with misleading information by those who claimed to be experts.

He stressed that the raw material for the plant, which is rare earth concentrate from Mount Weld in Western Australia, had very low levels of radiation and the facility would treat the waste water and gas emission before releasing them into the environment.

"We are willing to engage in talks with any party if they are sincere in wanting to understand our operations. If need be, we can arrange for a visit to our plant," said Mashal.

The media was later brought to the AELB office at the LAMP compound, where a RM1.4 million airborne monitoring system was installed to gauge the radiation level in the area.

A similar device will be installed at the district police headquarters here and the public can read the radiation level on the monitors set up at various locations around here.

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