Thursday, August 01, 2019

Lynas - No more send back waste to Australia - now OK if PERMANENT disposal facility? Earthquake, Sabotage, Wear and Tear?

Lynas - Disappointing that Malaysia seems to be backtracking from the position 'No renewal of license unless rare earth waste is removed from Malaysia? Now, it seems no more insisting that the waste be removed from Malaysia - and all that is required is not a TEMPORARY but a PERMANENT disposal facility. So, Malaysians will have to live with the RISK forever...maybe even after Lynas closes its factory in Malaysia and moves away?

Permanent Disposal Facility - well, we know that that there is nothing that is permanent...Even houses start springing up leaks after a number of years - little cracks and water always finds its way. There may be no leaks for maybe 5 years or 10 years or even 50 years - but what happens when there is a leak and this rare-earth waste starts seeping into the environment - affecting maybe the environment itself, and in the worse case scenario health risks and death...and maybe at that time the Lynas Company may have already left Malaysia or even be no longer existing. Who will be held responsible ...who will compensate the victims. Will the directors and shareholders be personally responsible...Will the Australian government be personally responsible? Will the Prime Ministers, Ministers and MPs of Pakatan Harapan parties be held personally responsible? 

What other things may pose a risk to such 'PERMANENT' disposal facilities - earthquake, Tsunami, sabotage by 'terrorists', etc ... 

Why Australia do not want to take back the waste? That should send us a 'warning' - after all, Australia can ensure that the waste is return to someplace where the mining occurred. Australia's strong position should be a concern - so should Malaysia keep this 'waste'? 

Will Lynas or where its 'Permanent' Disposal Facility result in declining value of property and houses near it? I, for sure, is not going to buy land or property anywhere near...

Sg Kim Kim toxic pollution -The episode in March this year saw the temporary closure of 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang months later a second episode...

Are we confident with the laws and Malaysian enforcement agencies to ensure that there will be no rare waste impact to environment and health? After all, how did so many 'illegal factories' and breaches of law to ensure occupational health and safety of not just workers but also the surrounding community and environment happen. When an incident like Pasir Gudang happen...suddenly the authorities get to work...

A total of 67 factories were identified as operating without licence in Pasir Gudang, said Johor exco for local government, urban wellbeing and environment Tan Chen Choon...Tan said this was discovered during the integrated operations by various agencies following the recurrence of vomiting and breathing difficulties in the Pasir Gudang area since June 20...Of the 67 factories, eight will be subjected to court action, 46 were given warning notice, three were sealed, and two ordered to close.
How come so many? Have the various enforcement agencies been lazy? Was there corruption? Every year, the local government(Local Council) needs to issue licence for any business to operate? Is it pay the money, you get to operate - with no checking whether all the required permits to ensure health and safety to operate has been complied with .. 

Why did Malaysia change its policy? Corruption? Pressure from more powerful nation states? OR maybe more foreign investment? Is the health of the environment and people of Malaysia, in particular Kuantan and Pahang of so little importance...? Remember, Lynas first went to Trengganu who rejected Lynas - and then Pahang said OK 

Putrajaya confirms letting Lynas explore rare-earths waste disposal in Malaysia

Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference after a roundtable discussion with international chambers of commerce at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre August 1, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference after a roundtable discussion with international chambers of commerce at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre August 1, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — The Pakatan Harapan government has removed the requirement for Lynas Corp to repatriate its rare-earth processing waste as a precondition for its licence renewal, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed today.

Instead, the prime minister said the Australian mining firm was directed to construct a permanent disposal facility (PDF) to treat the water leach purification (WLP) residue that is created from rare-earth processing at its facility in Gebeng, Kuantan.

“We are giving this condition to Lynas that they should have a plan for dealing with the waste. We are waiting for them to tell us how they will do that.

“Whether they can find the place, whether they can dispose the waste or not,” said Dr Mahathir.
Singaporean news outlet The Straits Times first reported that Putrajaya was dropping its demand for 
Lynas to ship its waste back to Australia and will agree to the PDF.

It quoted a source as saying Lynas must pay a RM206 million security deposit to finance the project and approval was dependent on the firm finding a suitable location and obtaining the necessary permits.

Lynas previously insisted that it cannot manage to export 450,000 tonnes of the water leach purification (WLP) residue, a by-product of their refinery operations, by September and offered to build the PDF as a compromise.

The firm agreed to build the facility last year following the recommendation from the executive review committee appointed by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.

However, Minister Yeo Bee Yin then insisted that Lynas must export its waste back to Australia as a prerequisite for Lynas’s licence renewal.

Following approaches by Yeo’s ministry, Australian authorities flatly rejected any possibility of accepting the Lynas waste in their country.

On July 9, Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis told Parliament that they were awaiting further input before deciding on Lynas.

On July 21, 88 NGOs signed a petition urging Putrajaya to discontinue the rare-earth miner’s licence and criticised the government for appearing to favour the Australian mining firm.

Prior to the 14th general election, the rejection of the Lynas rare-earth refinery in Kuantan was among platforms PH had used to garner public support.

This contributed to DAP’s Wong Tack — a strident opponent of Lynas — securing an upset victory over the MCA president at the time, Datuk Seri Liow TIong Lai, in Bentong.

Since then, the coalition has warmed to the idea of rare-earth processing in the country, with the Entrepreneur Development Ministry defending the industry as potentially worth RM100 billion and the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry identifying other possible locations for rare-earth mining and development. - Malay Mail, 1/8/2019

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