KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Lynas Malaysia said there were abandoned mines in Pahang that it could repurpose as its permanent disposal facility (PDF) if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government approves of this solution.
Its managing director, Datuk Mashal Ahmad, explained that his firm was already treating its water leach purification (WLP) residue in facilities that approximate a permanent storage site and approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).
“Should the preference of the Malaysian government be a PDF, Lynas Malaysia’s current residue management practices, research, together with international best practice, can be applied to identify options to best utilise the material.
“As an example, there are a number of disused mines in the state of Pahang that require rehabilitation and a PDF can be designed such that it assists in the rehabilitation of this land, providing environmental benefits in a sustainable way,” he said in a statement.
The firm additionally conducted research into safe alternative uses for its rare-earths processing waste, such as a low-radiation iron phosphate material that could be used as a soil conditioner.
Mashal added that his firm has also deposited US$42.2 million with the federal government to fund long-term residue management.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed this week that the government was dropping its requirement for Lynas to repatriate its water leach purification (WLP) residue as a precondition for its licence renewal due by September 1.
Instead, the firm was directed to explore a PDF facility to treat its rare-earths processing residue.
The decision was a departure from the ruling coalition’s insistence shortly after winning the general election that Australian mining firm must remove its WLP residue from the country.
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