Reject Lynas’ application for permanent licence

Contrary to what Lynas has claimed, it has failed to carry out what it promised, claim Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Pertubuhan Solidariti Hujau Kuantan (PSHK)

The anti-Lynas movement

An anti-Lynas protest

Lynas Corporation has just released its quarterly reports ending 30 June 2014. Based on the reports ending 30 June 2014, Lynas is financially in a critical state. SMSL hereby urges the government and the regulatory authority AELB NOT to extend or renew its TOL!

In its Cash Flow report, the quarter ended with a deficit of $A23.775m while its previous quarter had a cash reserve of $A23.359m! It raised $A39.971m from a rights issue exercise and institutional placement of shares last May. It now has a cash balance of $A38.144m, while the next quarter has a forecast outflow of $A58.172m! This does not include the next principal repayment due under the Sojitz Facility of US$35.0m on 30 September 2014!

Though the quarter saw a production of 1,882 tonnes of REO, Lynas only sold 1,630 tonnes and grossed in A$26.495m which is equivalent to a basket price of A$16.254/kg. It is much lower than basket price of US$20.35/kg during the quarter on a China domestic basis. What this means is LAMP is operating on a loss accumulating basis. The market price for REO is continuing to experience a downtrend and this will further exacerbate Lynas’ losses through a full operation ramp up as announced!

It is now clear that Lynas’ financial health is in ‘ICU’! Should it fail to get their creditor Sojitz/LOGMAC to agree to defer their repayments of A$215m in six-monthly intervals till 31 March 2016, it will begin to default on their repayments starting 30 September this year and this could lead to dire and serious implications for the community here! With the meagre sum of US$13.05m received as security deposits, would it be sufficient to dispose of thousands of tonnes of solid radioactive wastes left behind by Lamp safely?

The government of Malaysia and the regulating authority, AELB, should exercise the Principle of Caution and reject Lynas’ application for the Full Operating Stage Licence (renewal of TOL)!

In its activities report ending 30 June 2014, Lynas revealed that it had submitted all documents required for the application for a Full Operating Stage License (FOSL) for Lamp to the AELB. It had also made an e-application as well and submitted a letter of intent to that effect. Lynas claimed that it had complied with all regulatory requirements and ALL conditions of the TOL since it was issued by the AELB in September 2012. (Source: Quarterly report ending 30 June 2014)

The residents of Kuantan and Balok hereby request the AELB to confirm:

  • that Lynas has identified a location for its permanent disposal facility (PDF) as required under the terms of the TOL.
  • that Lynas has successfully conducted tests on the recycling of solid wastes into synthetic mineral products as claimed in their report and they are prepared to fulfil their undertaking of shipping them abroad to their potential buyers.
  • that AELB has certified the road base material developed from water leach purification (WLP) as a non –radioactive material and Lynas is seeking the DOE’s approval for construction of a demonstration and assessment road using this material.
  • that the company has gained approval from a customer (is AELB aware of this?) and is preparing to make the first commercial trial export of neutralisation underflow product (NUF).
  • that AELB has checked, agreed and approved all these alternatives to finding a PDF.
  • that the written undertaking by Lynas to ship all recycled products overseas will be adhered to as directed by the Malaysia cabinet.

The residents are gravely concerned that both Lynas and the regulatory authority have not been fulfilling their pledge to inform and engage the local residents and communities on these matters. It is part of the IAEA recommendations that both Lynas and AELB should adhere to as a precondition to the issuance of TOL.

Lynas claimed that WLP waste will be recycled as road base material and the AELB has certified it as non-radioactive. We would like both Lynas and the AELB to provide us with a sample so that independent experts can have a say over this.

Meanwhile, we urge the DOE NOT to approve the proposal from Lynas for the construction of a demonstration and assessment road using this material! Lynas should have done this before it built its plant here. Why should our land and environment be the experimental laboratory for Lynas’ radioactive waste?

So is the claim by Lynas on the commercialisation of NUF wastes. We demand that all information regarding the customer and the trials that had been carried out be made available to the public so that a fair and independent opinion can be sought from the experts to appease the fears and concern of the people.

Contrary to what Lynas has claimed in their report regarding the fulfillment of ALL conditions under the TOL, it has failed to carry out what it promised in its written undertaking. AELB should under no reasonable circumstances allow the application for the Full Operating Stage Licence (FOSL) to be approved!

We as stakeholders have been bypassed and ignored when Lamp was built. We promise that we will not let this matter rest if proper observation of rules and regulations both by Lynas and the regulating authorities are not adhered to. We shall pursue through whatever means necessary to ensure that our environment is not sacrificed on the altar of foreign profits and the incompetence of our government officials!

2 August 2014

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9 Responses

  1. charleskiwi says:

    Why do you think Australia was and still is trying ‘so hard’ to locate MH370, when Malaysia did almost nothing until months after, they are even trimming down their budget and also their GSP ?
    What has the location of MH370 so important to Australia, they don’t own MH370 and most of all just wait and see where would Australia send their refugees to plus all the plants like Lynas they don’t want them in their own back yards ? Expect more of their refugees and plants they don’t want be located in Malaysia !

    • looihw88 says:

      Quote charleskiwi: “… all the plants like Lynas they don’t want them in their own back yards…” Unquote.

      COMMENT:

      It is not true to say that Australia does not allow Lynas to build the plant in Australia.

      AS STATED BY NORMAN FREDERICK MOORE, THE AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR MINES AND PETROLEUM, IF LYNAS HAVE CHOSEN TO OPERATE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, IT WOULD BE WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS !

      A number of other countries have built or are planning to build these rare earth elements (REE) plants. Unfortunately some has been shelved or terminated because of the drop in REE price and was found to be uneconomical.

      New Rare Earth Plants and Mines

      1. Arafura in Whayalla Australia
      2. Great Western Minerals in Steenkampskraal South Africa
      3. Avalon Rare Metal in Thor Lake Canada
      4. Alkane in Dubbo New South Wales Australia
      5. Molycorp Inc. in Mountain Pass, California, USA
      6. Tasman in Sweden
      7. Greenland Minerals and Energy in Greenland
      8. Canada Rare Earth in Canada
      9. 50 yr Old La Roche Plant in France

      Alkane has decided to build a multi-billion dollar rare earth plant in the outskirts of Sydney but later decided to shelve it because of the drop in REE price.

      In the past the rare earth plants in America were closed for the same reason why any mine or company close down…it has become uneconomical i.e. losing money!

      This was because at that time China was selling rare earth elements at a ridiculously low price and nobody could compete with them.

      Molycorp Inc. has restarted its REE plant at Mountain Pass in America and is now fully functional. But because of the high cost of labour in America, it is in financial trouble and is about to go bankrupt !

  2. Mariko says:

    The comment is a flagrantly stupid as the arguments in the article

    • Ed G says:

      Which argument(s) expounded in the article are you not in agreement with? And what is your counter-argument?

  3. looihw88 says:

    ;) :)

    Quote: ..”that the written undertaking by Lynas to ship all recycled products overseas will be adhered to as directed by the Malaysia cabinet” Unquote

    Comment:

    Quote Letter from Lynas:

    “Lynas Corporation Australia hereby give a full undertaking to, IF NECESSARY, remove from Malaysia all the waste generated Lynas Advanced Material in Gebeng, Kuantan during the Temporary Operating License period.” Unquote.

    LYNAS will only remove the “waste” from Malaysia “IF NECESSARY”.

    Lynas will recycle the so-called “waste” into synthetic gypsum for plaster board, magnesium and phosphate rich fertilizers and aggregate as clinker for road construction.

    At current rates of production, supplies of synthetic gypsum co-products are beginning to outstrip natural gypsum, thus providing valuable new alternative materials and preserving the planet’s natural resources.

    The WLP can be diluted to less than 1 Bq/g by blending according to international standards and made into valuable clinker for road construction and other construction projects.

    I repeat, THEREFORE IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO REMOVE THE RECYCLED PROFITABLE “WASTE” FROM MALAYSIA and the recycling of the so called waste will create even more jobs.

    IF MALAYSIA WERE TO CLOSE DOWN LYNAS, LYNAS IS ENTITLED TO SUE FOR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF COMPENSATION.

    THEY WILL MOST LIKELY SUE MALAYSIA IN AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND OR EVEN IN THE USA!

    ♥ HAVE A LOOK AT THIS LETTER PUBLISHED IN MALAYSIAKINI, A STAUNCH ANTI-LYNAS INTERNET NEWSPAPER

    http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/235206

    ‘No need to fuss over waste from Lynas plant’

  4. looihw88 says:

    :) ;)

    *
    UP TO 93% OF LYNAS “WASTE” IS OF MALAYSIAN ORIGIN.

    ANTI-LYNAS FOLKS STILL INSIST THAT THE SO-CALLED LYNAS WASTE BE SENT BACK TO AUSTRALIA.

    ANNUAL PRODUCTION OF REE AND “WASTE”

    (according to OEKO):

    Annual import of Ore Concentrate = 65,000 tonnes

    Annual production of REE = 22,500 tonnes

    Therefore actual ‘Waste” of Australian origin

    = 65,000 – 22,500 = 42,500 tonnes per year

    TOTAL “WASTE” from Lynas Plant = 290,400 tonnes/yr

    consisting of

    1. WLP = 64,000 tonnes/yr

    2. FGD = 55,800 tonnes/yr

    3. NUF = 170,600 tonnes/yr

    THEREFORE AUSTRALIA CONTRIBUTES TO ONLY 14.5 % (42,000 divided by 290,400×100 %) of the so-called “waste” tonnage ! ! !

    SO IN PHASE 1, 85.5 % OF ALL THE “WASTE” PRODUCED BY LYNAS IS ACTUALLY NATIVE TO MALAYSIA.

    AND HAS BEEN BORN AND BRED IN MALAYSIA FOR BILLIONS OF YEARS AND AS SUCH HAVE MORE RIGHT TO STAY IN MALAYSIA THAN ALL THE ANTI-LYNAS FOLKS !

    DON’T YOU THINK THAT IT IS A SICK JOKE TO ASK AUSTRALIA TO TAKE “BACK” A SO-CALLED “WASTE” WHICH IS OF 85.5% MALAYSIAN ORIGIN ?

    ♥ In the initial phase of operation, the contribution of Australian materials to the “waste” is even less as only REE carbonate is produced.

    If you look at the Cerium Carbonate and Lanthanum Carbonate formulae, Ce2(CO3)3.3H2O and La2(CO3)3.xH2O , you would realise that the CARBONATE and water makes up more than 1/2 of the weight of the hydrated Ce and La carbonate molecules.

    So to export 22,500 tonnes of REE, Lynas has to export more than 22,500×2 or > 45,000 tonnes of REE carbonates.

    THEREFORE,

    ♥ IMPORT = 65,000 TONNES/yr (REE PHOSPHATE)

    ♥ EXPORT = > 45,OOO TONNES/yr (REE CARBONATE)

    So in the meantime and until REE oxide or metallic REE is produced, there is in fact a net gain of only about 20,000 tonnes/yr in the materials sent from Australia,

    i.e. for phase 1, Australia contributes only about 7% to the 290,400 tonnes/yr of Lynas “waste” or

    93% OF THE SO-CALLED “LYNAS WASTE” IS OF MALAYSIAN ORIGIN !

    And what happens is that we get the valuable PHOSPHATE fertilizer from Australia in exchange for our useless CARBONATE !

    (Divide all figures by 2 in phase 1 if you want to be dogmatic, but the final figure of 93% will still be the same).

    Note:

    We have been importing thousands of tonnes of radioactive phosphate fertilizers from other countries for decades without any problem!

    In 2001, Malaysia imported 510,000 tonnes of radioactive phosphate fertilizers from various countries without encountering any problem.

    Concentration of radionuclides in fertilisers (Bq/kg)

    ♥ Normal Super Phosphate >>

    Uranium, Thorium, Radium = 2,104 Bq/kg

    ♥ Diammonium phosphate>>

    Uranium, Thorium, Radium = 2,525 Bq/kg

    Malaysian Monazite ore = 284 Bq/g

    Lynas WLP = only a miserable 6 Bq/g

    Ref:,

    1. Source: IAEA Tech Report 419, p100

    2. OEKO report

  5. looihw88 says:

    ;)

    There is actually no waste products in Lynas and the so-called waste is not wasted but is recycled and made into useful highly profitable products.

    The operation of the plant will result in the generation of three major residue streams, namely the

    1. WLP .. Water Leach Purification Residue (WLP) from the cracking and separation process,

    2. FGD .. the Flue Gas Desulphurisation Residue (FGD) from the waste gas treatment system (scrubber) and the

    3. NUF .. Neutralisation Underflow Solids from the wastewater treatment process (NUF).

    ORE FOR LYNAS PLANT ~ 1,600 ppm (parts per million)
    2 MOST VOLUMINOUS LYNAS “WASTE” = 12 ppm
    3rd RESIDUE STREAM = 1,500 ppm of Thorium
    AVERAGE MALAYSIAN SOIL = 20 ppm OF THORIUM

    The first two are classified as non-radioactive as its radioactivity is only half that of Malaysian soil and is much much less radioactive than the SAND THAT YOUR CHILDREN PLAY WITH in our beaches.

    Lynas will recycle them as synthetic gypsum for plaster board, magnesium rich synthetic gypsum, synthetic aggregate and cement manufacturing products, or as fertiliser.

    The WLP can be diluted according to international standards and made into valuable clinker for road construction and other construction projects.

    THE FINISHED PROCESSED RARE EARTH CLINKER PRODUCT EMITS ONLY 0.156 mSv/yr – a tiny fraction of what people in everyday life naturally experience.

    THE PRESENT TARMAC ASPHALT ROAD EMITS 2.4 TO 2.6 mSv/yr even when using conventional Malaysian materials !

    Note: In the Lynas plant, the blending of tailings follows the basic safety principle of World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation and seven more UN and other reputable international organisation including the following.

    ♥- European Atomic Energy Community,

    ♥- Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations,

    ♥- International Atomic Energy Agency,

    ♥- International Labour Organisation,

    ♥- International Maritime Organisation,

    ♥- OECD Nuclear Energy Agency,

    ♥- Pan American Health Organisation,

    ♥- United Nations Environment Programme, and.

    ♥- World Health Organisation.

    All the advanced countries like the USA, UK, Canada, France, Japan and Australia ALLOWS and FOLLOWS this
    basic safety principle of World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation and seven more UN and other reputable international organisation.

    Dato’ Dr Looi FAMM

  6. looihw88 says:

    :) ;)

    WHY SO PARANOID OF THE SO-CALLED “WASTE” FROM LYNAS ?

    ♥ The Lynas WLP is a VLLW (Very Low Level Waste) ACCORDING TO IAEA !

    WLP WITH 6 Bq/g IS CLASSIFIED AS VERY LOW LEVEL WASTE (VLLW) AND IS ALMOST AN EXEMPT MATERIAL and as such can easily be legally, and ethically blended or used directly as a land-fill.

    Wastes from NORMS which occur in nature and wastes from nuclear power plants which are created, are different.

    Wastes with short half life and waste with long half life are classified differently.

    The concentrated ore from Mount Weld is only very slightly radioactive with a tiny radioactivity of 6 Bq/g from naturally occurring elements..

    Compare this with the

    ♥ WASTE FROM MALAYSIAN AMANG INDUSTRY > 100Bq/g and

    WASTE “SLUDGE” IN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

    ………………………………LIKE IN PETRONAS > 1,000 Bq/g

    “HARD SCALES” FROM THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY CAN

    HAVE ACTIVITY AS HIGH AS 15,000 Bq/g of Radium-226

    AND 2,800 Bq/g of Radium-228.

    For transportation purposes,

    A RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL IS DEFINED AS ANY MATERIAL WHICH HAS A SPECIFIC ACTIVITY GREATER THAN

    a …. > 74 Bq/g in USA (U.S.NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

    b …. > 10 Bq/g (Thorium-232) in Australia and

    c …. > 1 Bq/g in Malaysia ! ! !

    As such, the Lynas ore can be considered as non-radioactive and is allowed to be transported freely to any country in the world (except Malaysia).

    The average radioactivity of the 3 so-called “waste” products is only 1.35 Bq/g .
    This is only marginally above the “safe to eat” level in the EU and the USA of 1.25 Bq/g and 1.2 Bq/g respectively.

    The “waste” if left in it’s moist form, with about 35% moisture, would have a specific activity of only 0.9 Bq/g even without blending !

    A RADIOACTIVITY OF 0.9 Bq/g IS FIT TO BE EATEN (IF EDIBLE) UNDER US AND EU REGULATIONS ! ! !

    Regulatory limits on radioactivity in foods (source: IAEA)

    USA foodstuff = 1.20 Bq/g (1,200 Bq/kg)

    EU foodstuff = 1.25 Bq/g (1,250 Bq/kg)

    Accepted global limits on radioactivity levels in foods is 1000 Bq/kg (1,200 Bq/kg in the USA and 1,250 Bq/kg in the EU).

    Dominated by cesium-137 and SR-90, these levels were set by organisations like the IAEA and UNSCEAR after decades of study.”

    Warmest regards,

    Dato’ Dr Looi

  7. looihw88 says:

    :) ;)

    ANYTHING THAT IS LESS THAN 1.25 Bq/g IN THE EU OR 1.20 Bq/g IN THE USA, IS CONSIDERED TO BE SAFE ENOUGH TO BE EATEN.

    If Lynas did not separate out their “waste” into 3 components i.e. WLP, FGD and NUF, the Lynas “waste” would have a specific activity of only 1.35 Bq/g .

    This is only marginally above the “safe to eat” level in the EU and the USA of 1.25 Bq/g and 1.2 Bq/g respectively.

    AND IF WE ADD AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF MALAYSIAN SOIL TO THE ABOVE NON-SEPARATED “WASTE” THE ACTIVITY IS ONLY = 0.72 Bq/g .

    THIS IS WELL WITHIN THE SAFE LIMIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION (IF EDIBLE) IN BOTH THE EU AND THE USA ! ! !

    SO WHAT’S SO DANGEROUS ABOUT THE LYNAS WASTE ?

    IT CAN BE SAFELY EATEN (IF EDIBLE) FROM A RADIATION POINT OF VIEW WHEN BLENDED WITH AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF MALAYSIAN SOIL ! ! !

    Kindly note:

    Blending is an internationally accepted and legitimate way of decreasing the impact of a norm (naturally occurring radioactive material) on the environment and follows the basic safety principle of the World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation and seven more UN and other reputable international organisations – with guidelines on this existing in many countries.

    Total “waste” from Lynas plant = 290,400 tonnes/yr consisting of:

    1. water leach purification residue (WLP) = 64,000 tonnes/yr >>>> ~ 6 Bq/g

    2. flue gas desulphurisation residue (FGD) = 55,800 tonnes/yr >>>> ~ 0.049 Bq/g

    3. Neutralisation underflow residue (NUF) = 170,600 tonnes/yr >>>> ~ 0.029 Bq/g

    Average Malaysian soil >>>> ~ 0.082 Bq/g

    if we are to mix the WLP, FGD and NUF together, we will end up with a mixture of “waste” with a radioactivity of only 1.349 Bq/g and if we add an equal amount of Malaysian soil to the mixture we will end up with a valuable mixture of soil enriched with magnesium, calcium and phosphate with a radioactivity of only 0.715 Bq/g .

    And since this is way below 1.20 Bq/g , it is considered non-radioactive even in the USA and EU.

    Regulatory limits on radioactivity in foods (source: IAEA)

    USA foodstuff = 1.20 Bq/g (1,200 Bq/kg)

    EU foodstuff = 1.25 Bq/g (1,250 Bq/kg)

    Accepted global limits on radioactivity levels in foods is 1000 Bq/kg (1,200 Bq/kg in the USA and 1,250 Bq/kg in the EU).

    Dominated by cesium-137 and SR-90, these levels were set by organisations like the IAEA and UNSCEAR after decades of study.

    In Malaysia, any material that has a radioactivity of over 1 Bq/g will be considered to be radioactive and needs AELB permission to be transported.

    In the EU and USA, below 1.2 Bq/g is considered to be non-radioactive and if it is edible, is also fit to be eaten.

    Please note that: The 40 year old rare earth plant in La Rochelle, France had in the past used part of their waste to fill up the low-lying areas of their plant and this has not caused any problem !

    In fact, prior to the end of 1974, this plant released all radioactive liquids and solids directly into the sea (where locals as well as tourists are swimming) without causing any problem.

    Note:

    For transportation purposes, A RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL IS DEFINED AS ANY MATERIAL WHICH HAS A SPECIFIC ACTIVITY GREATER THAN

    a …. > 74 Bq/g in USA

    b …. > 10 Bq/g (Thorium-232) in Australia and

    c …. > 1 Bq/g in Malaysia ! ! !

    Why?

    Because the 1989 Malaysian Transport Regulations are closely based on the out-of-date 1985 IAEA Transport Regulations.

    As a result any material that contains Uranium and Thorium with a combined activity of just 1 Bq/g needs to be regulated by AELB.

    IT’S TIME FOR MALAYSIA TO “DOWNGRADE” IT’S STANDARDS TO THAT OF THE STANDARDS OF THE MORE ADVANCED COUNTRIES ! ! !

    Dato’ Dr Looi Hoong Wah
    FAMM, MB., ChB(Manchester), MRCS(England), MRCP(UK) MRCP(London)

    ♥ . INDEPENDENT DOCUMENTARY ON LAMP

    Have a look at this independent documentary on Lynas. It is not sponsored or commissioned by the government or pro-Lynas group.

    It gives you a very comprehensive tour of the plant as well as a discussion of the issues involved in this plant.

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