KUALA LUMPUR Dec 10 Australia's Lynas Corp
must export waste material created by operations at its
controversial rare earths plant in Malaysia or risk having its
operating license revoked, four Malaysian ministers said in a
joint statement on Monday.
The statement followed local media reports citing Lynas
Malaysia's managing director Mashal Ahmad as saying the company
would not export residue from the plant, which began operations
in late November after a series of legal hurdles.
"Should Lynas fail to comply with this condition, the Atomic
Energy Licensing Board is empowered to suspend or revoke the
license, and order Lynas to immediately cease operation," said
the statement released by the Ministry of International Trade
"The government will not compromise the health and safety of
the people and the environment, in dealing with the issue of
Lynas," the ministers said.
The ministers said they were responding to "recent
inaccurate media reports regarding the removal of the residues."
Mashal was reported by the Guang Ming Daily as saying that
Lynas needed to abide by international conventions which
prohibit the export of hazardous wastes. Mashal declined to
comment when contacted by Reuters late on Monday.
Senior opposition politician Lim Guan Eng said Mashal's
reported comments meant the government should revoke Lynas'
license for breach of its contract.
Lynas has been embroiled in lengthy environmental and safety
disputes with local residents since construction began two years
ago. Its $800 million plant, which opponents say is
environmentally hazardous, began operations late last month
after long delays caused by legal challenges and safety
Located in the east coast city of Kuantan, it had been ready
to kickstart since May.
The Malaysian high court will hear an application for
judicial reviews to block operations of the plant on Feb. 5 next
(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by Stuart