Backs to the wall for a desperate Lynas…

14 December 2018


KUALA LUMPUR: It would incur Lynas Corporation Ltd (Lynas) a cost of A$14 million (RM42 million) to take out the Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP) from Malaysia, said Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister, Yeo Bee Yin (pix).

She said based on the report by the Australian Financial Review last week, a major portion of the cost to export the residue, which is A$46 million (RM139 million) could be claimed via the insurance company of the rare earth mining company.

“Compared with the profits of the company for the year 2017-2018 which reached A$129 million (RM399 million), it represented only 10% of the profits of Lynas. If the calculation is accurate, it means 10% of the profits of Lynas from its operations last year is sufficient to send back the accumulated residue for six years of operations.

“More so, after the announcement of the pre-condition made by the ministry last week, share brokers such as UBS and CLSA still emphasised on the “buy” recommendation for Lynas shares. Share broker UBS had placed a target price for Lynas as high as A$3.10 (RM9), which is almost twice from their share price before the announcement was made,“ she said in her latest entry in her Facebook website.

The note was issued as an open letter to the workers of Lynas Malaysia, following the submission of the memorandum by 130 workers of Lynas, Pahang in front of the main gate to Parliament on Tuesday. — Bernama

My reply to Lynas employees

Yeo Bee Yin
(Updated )

| Dear Lynas employees, I read the news that 130 of you had protested at Parliament to call for the government to save your jobs. I would like to apologize that I was not there to receive your memorandum as I am now at Katowice, Poland, attending United Nation Climate Change Conference of the Parties, to speak on behalf of Malaysia in the global movement of fighting climate change and its impact.

I didn’t expect you to be in Parliament since it was Tuesday and a working day in Kuantan. If I knew you were coming to hand over the memorandum, I would have arranged the ministry officers to receive you so that you wouldn’t have to stand under the sun.

Trust me, I understand your anxiety of losing jobs. I grew up in an estate where my mother was a clerk and I know full well how it feels like of struggling to make ends meet – food, shelter, education, clothes, for the family.

On the ministry’s decision announced last week, I would like to clarify with you the following:

There is continuous accumulation of the two primary residues at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plan (LAMP) site namely, Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP) totalling 451,564 metric tonnes and Neutralization Underflow Residue (NUF) totalling 1.113 million metric tonnes. (I think you would have seen the “hills” of residue accumulated at LAMP.)

As of now, there is no viable near-term solution to manage the accumulated residue, which is stored at the open landfill temporary site.

The risks to the surrounding communities and environment increase with the increasing amount of accumulated residue as it is exposed to the threat of natural disasters such as major flooding.

Your employer has twice made the commitment to the government of Malaysia to remove waste from Malaysia. If you have not seen this, attached are the letters of undertaking written by Lynas Corporation Ltd, Australia (Lynas Australia) and Lynas Malaysia Sdn. Bhd (Lynas Malaysia) dated February 23, 2012, and March 6, 2012, respectively, indicating their commitment to removing LAMP residue from Malaysia, if necessary. Considering the risk of the residue accumulation, it is now “necessary” to do that.

What’s the cost for Lynas to remove the waste out from Malaysia? Australian Financial Review reported the following:

“CLSA analyst Dylan Kelly said in a note to clients that the cost of transporting the waste back to Australia was estimated to be US$60 million, but said insurance would cover about US$46 million of that. The balance of about US$14 million would represent about 10 percent of the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of US$129 million that Lynas recorded in 2017-18.

I really hope you can put things into perspective according to these figures – it only takes 10 percent of Lynas earnings of one year to send out waste that has been accumulated in Malaysia for six years.

Even after the ministry sets the requirement of WLP waste removal from Malaysia, brokers like UBS and CLSA still kept their recommendations “buy” on Lynas stock. UBS even set US$3.10 price target on the stock, which is nearly double the current share price.”

What these show you is that the whole drama the Lynas management is trying to stage – the myriad of paid advertorials in all major newspapers, the press conferences that paint a bad picture of the ministry and so on, eventually boils down to this: to protect the company by not honouring the commitment made. As a minister, my job on the other hand, is to protect the public interest and people of Malaysia.

I would like you to know that I did not ask more than what your employer had committed back in 2012. Therefore, it is my hope that Lynas will honour their words and start the process of shipping out WLP residues from Malaysia.

I hope this decision also sends a message to the next generation that this generation of Malaysians is doing the best we can to leave the country a better place for them to live in.

YEO BEE YIN is Bakri MP, and Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change minister.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.


11 December 2018




Lynas was recently told by the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry to remove its waste from the Kuantan plant or risk not having its operating permit renewed.

The ministry said LAMP would be allowed to continue operating as long as it removes and disposes of its water leach purification residue which contains radioactive material.

It also said Lynas must submit an action plan on the disposal of its non-radioactive neutralisation underflow residue scheduled waste.




KUALA LUMPUR: Some 130 employees from Lynas Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan gathered at Parliament building today in protest following the government’s threat to cancel their permit if it fails to remove its radioactive waste from Malaysia.

The 130 employees of the plant consisting of supervisors, technicians and plant workers had gathered in front of parliament as early as 8.15am.

Workers are concerned that if the government shuts down their plant, they would all lose their jobs.

Jumaat Mansor, the facility’s senior human resources manager said that the company consists of mostly Malaysians.

“Only 3% of us (employees) are Australian; everyone else working at the facility are locals.

“We have been reviewed a total of eight times. All of the findings were positive, and our operations were found to be safe,” he added.

The facility’s licence to operate hinges on Yeo’s decision for Lynas to remove its water leach purification (WLP) waste from Malaysia.

“These recommendations were changed by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who decided that the waste must be returned to Australia, bypassing the recommendation given to Lynas.

“If the licence is not renewed, we will not be able to operate and we will be jobless,” Jumaat, 59,

The group was also there to hand a memorandum to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

The memorandum states that if the licence is not renewed, the factory could see 1,000 direct and 4,000 indirect jobs being affected.

It was accepted by a member of the foreign affairs ministry.









7 December 2018



PETALING JAYA: Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh today challenged Lynas Malaysia over its statements on naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORM) generated at its plant in Gebeng, accusing the company of pushing its “hazards” to Malaysians instead of dealing with them safely.

In a statement, Fuziah referred to chief executive Amanda Lacaze’s recent interview with FMT in which the latter said both the raw rare earth and processed residue were categorised as NORM.

She added that the low level of radiation remained unchanged throughout the process.

Accusing Lacaze of making “irresponsible statements”, Fuziah said this was as good as asking Malaysians “to commit a slow suicide to save Lynas the cost of cleaning up its own waste”.

“I dare Lacaze to pack a suitcase of Lynas NORM and try to get through Customs in Australia with it,” she added.

Claiming that Lacaze was just “one step short of telling Malaysians to swallow carcinogens generated as waste by Lynas”, Fuziah, who is a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, asked what kind of “zero-harm” corporation it was.

“If Lynas is serious about international standards, it would have remained in Australia to abide by the more stringent regulatory requirements there, and not picked Malaysia for its most hazardous operations.”

Fuziah, who has been a staunch critic of Lynas, had earlier this week called on the company to send its radioactive waste back to Australia, purportedly because the government review committee’s report showed that the groundwater in the area contained cancerous materials.

However, Lacaze told FMT that the committee had in fact recognised that Lynas was “intrinsically low-risk” and that it had management practices that further mitigated any risks.

She also rubbished Fuziah’s claim that the committee report found that the nickel concentration reading of the groundwater was very low in 2007 but spiked after Lynas began its operations.

“What the report said – and anyone can check it out – is that the review committee made no findings on the source of this material and it recommends further studies to determine where it came from.”

She added that Lynas was confident it would be vindicated by the outcome of any such study.

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