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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

DOE extends feedback period on Lynas waste disposal site proposal

 


The Department of Environment (DOE) is extending the public feedback period on a proposal to build a permanent disposal facility in Bukit Ketam, Pahang, to store waste produced by Lynas’ rare earth refinery in Gebeng.

Public viewing and feedback on the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was originally supposed to run from Jan 27 until Feb 28 but will now be extended until March 19.

“Members of the public are invited to comment by providing feedback based on studying the EIA report throughout the display period,” the DOE said yesterday.

The Lynas permanent disposal facility is slated to occupy a 58.25-hectare site, and will be part of the much larger 202.35-hectare Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Site.

Among others, the EIA contradicted claims by Lynas and the Pahang government that it would not be located in a water catchment area.

The PDF would house Lynas’ Water Leach Purification (WLP) residue. While it has low radioactivity, its build-up over the years has raised concerns.

The EIA states that the site would require radiological and environmental monitoring for at least 100 years and makes proposals on how its risks might be mitigated.

The previous Pakatan Harapan government, which as the opposition had supported protests against the facility, had unsuccessfully tried to get the waste sent back to Mt Weld in Western Australia, where the original rare earth was mined before being shipped to Malaysia for processing.

As part of its new licensing conditions, Lynas Malaysia has agreed to move its cracking and leaching operations, which produce the radioactive wastes, back to Western Australia.

Meanwhile, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh called for the public consultation on the PDF project to be halted, claiming that it is illegal unless the status of the site as a permanent forest reserve is changed.

- Mkini

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