Lynas mulls ‘legal options’ after Malaysia imposes new conditions

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Australian rare earths miner Lynas said yesterday it would consider “legal options” after Malaysia imposed tough new conditions on waste removal for the renewal of its licences due next year.

Lynas shares lost more than 22 per cent in Sydney after news of the new terms.

Lynas Corporation’s USD720-million Malaysian plant, which processes rare earths mined in Australia, has been criticised by green groups and locals who have warned it produces dangerous radioactive waste.

The government’s decision to demand Lynas take additional steps for the renewal of its licences comes after the completion of a probe at the plant which was launched in September

Malaysia’s political opposition, which unexpectedly ousted the long-ruling coalition of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in May elections, has been critical of the factory in Pahang state.

The miner said it was surprised by the decision to impose pre-conditions to renew the licences.

“This appears to be policy based on politics, not policy based on science,” said Lynas CEO Amanda Lacaze

She added it would consider “all options available” on how to respond, including “legal options”.

The Lynas plant (pictured while under construction) processes rare earths mined in Australia. – AFP