On the conundrum of contradicting statements by the cabinet and Lynas on the requirement to ship out wastes from the rare earths refinery, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the former must be lying as the Australian firm cannot not afford to do so.
“Based on which party the statements were addressed to, it is clear that Lynas is telling the truth and the entire BN cabinet is lying,” he said in a statement today.
Lim (left) explained that Lynas will not dare lie to the Australian Stock Exchange(ASE) with their statement that its Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) issued by Malaysian government permits the wastes to remain in the country.
“It is easy for the BN to lie to the people as they have done so for the last 55 years without suffering any serious adverse consequences.
“However for Lynas to lie to the ASE has serious repercussions which could lead to the sacking of its top officials, including the chief executive officer, and even suspension of Lynas from the ASE.
“Lynas would not risk such punishment from the ASE with lies,” he said.
Lim claimed that Lynas had said in a stock exchange filing yesterday that the TOL remains issued and valid, with no requirement to ship out any residue produced from Malaysia and there is no legal impediment to Lynas carrying out its operations at the plant.
Only two conditions on website
However, a check with ASE website found that the latest filing by Lynas was on Dec 11 and it did not explicitly state that the TOL allows the wastes to remain in Malaysia.
It only mentioned two conditions of the TOL – the commercialisation and recycling of residue materials and submission of the plans and location of a permanent disposal facility – which must be satisfied within 10 months after the issuance of the TOL in September this year.
The Penang chief minister reiterated that if what the cabinet said is true, the government could revoke Lynas’ TOL or shut down its operations immediately for breach of condition without the need to pay compensation.
“If BN refuses to defend the interests of the people’s health and the environment by cancelling the Lynas plant… then Pakatan Rakyat will do so when we take over Putrajaya,” he added.
The confusion arose after Lynas Corporation executive chairperson Nicholas Curtis told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that there is no provision in the TOL demanding the export of waste from its rare earths refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Itcontradicted a joint statement issued by four ministers on Monday, and later endorsed by the cabinet, that the company ‘must export the waste’ in order to fulfill the condition, or face suspension or revocation of the TOL.
According to the previous statements and documents published by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), the TOL contains seven conditions. They are:Lynas should submit the planning of Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF);
- The plans and location of the PDF must be submitted regardless of what the waste will be eventually used for;
- Plans and location of PDF must be submitted and approved within the TOL period, not exceeding ten months from the date of TOL issued;
- Lynas to pay a US$50 million financial guarantee to the Malaysian government by installment;
- To ensure the compliance of the conditions, AELB has the right to appoint independent consultants at the expenses of Lynas;
- Lynas must come up with an immoblisation mechanism against the radioactive elements in its waste to prevent these from spreading to the surrounding areas; and,
- Lynas must also come up with an emergency response plan to contain dust created by radioactive residue disposal facilities from spreading into the atmosphere and surrounding areas and this plan must be approved by the board.
The exporting wastes issue was mentioned by AELB in a statement issued on Feb 1 which reads: “…the management of the residue which generated while Lynas is under (the regulation of) this TOL, is the responsibility of the company, including, if necessary, the return of residue to its original source.”
In another statement issued on Sept 8, AELB stated that the management and removal of residue is an integral part of the TOL conditions and agreements, and it is legally binding and the AELB will enforce it.