KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 Malaysia's Atomic Energy
Licensing Board (AELB) has postponed granting a temporary rare
earths mine operating licence to Australian miner Lynas Corp
until the hearing of an appeal by residents to the
government has been settled.
Lynas's rare earths plant in Kuantan on the east coast of
Malaysia, under construction since 2010, is key to breaking
major supplier China's hold on rare earths elements that are
used in electronic devices such as Apple's iPhone.
"The atomic board will not issue the licence until the
hearing has been settled," said AELB's director-general Raja
Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan when contacted by Reuters on Thursday.
Malaysia's AELB approved a two-year operating licence for
Lynas in early February, on condition it submit a detailed plan
for a permanent disposal facility for waste from the plant
within 10 months.
An appeal to Malaysia's Science, Technology and Innovation
Ministry was filed after Malaysia's attorney general ruled that
court action launched in February by residents in Kuantan
seeking to force the government to review its decision to grant
Lynas a temporary operating licence was not the correct avenue
Malaysian residents and local politicians say they are
worried that radioactive waste from the plant could contaminate
"We will meet the (Science, Technology and Innovation)
minister on April 17 and give our submissions. The decision by
the minister will be final and not subject to any court appeal,"
Tan Bun Teet, chairman of the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas group,
told Reuters on Thursday.
(Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui; editing by Keiron Henderson)