Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Lynas contemplates importing radioactive trash into Australia

Brokers remain optimistic on Lynas despite Malaysian setbacks, SMH, By Colin Kruger, 6 December 2018  Analysts remain optimistic about the future of ASX-listed rare earths miner Lynas Corp, suggesting there may be ways around the onerous conditions put on the renewal of its operating licence in Malaysia.

The stock dived as much as 26 per cent on Wednesday after the Malaysian government set the conditions, which include the removal of all 451,000 tonnes of radioactive residue produced by its $1 billion rare earths processing plant since it started operating in 2012.
The Malaysian operating licence, which allows Lynas to process the rare earths there from ore mined in Western Australia, is up for renewal next September.

Despite this, UBS has valued Lynas on a “business-as-usual basis” on the grounds that the problems are not insurmountable.

There may be grounds for appeal. The ministry is planning to implement a much stricter regime than the independent expert panel was recommending,” UBS analyst Daniel Morgan said in a research note. ….

According to UBS, Lynas may be able to economically ship the radioactive waste to another country – possibly Australia. And in a worst-case scenario, it could sell its concentrate product to China for processing while it restructured its processing.

One option is for Lynas to split out the processing stage that produces the residues that have caused problems in Malaysia.

“Lynas may be able to invest in a cracking and leaching facility in Australia, keeping the [waste] in the country.” Lynas would then ship the concentrate to Malaysia for the final stage of extraction using its existing facilities.

CLSA was also optimistic, saying the low-level radioactivity meant the waste could be shipped in regular shipping containers. And Lynas had access to rehabilitation funds to help pay the bill……..

Outside China, Lynas is the only processor of rare earths, which are crucial for elements of the new economy like mobile phone components, electric cars and batteries.

The miner’s shares shares nearly halved in value in May when Mahathir Mohamad unexpectedly defeated his former ruling party and then announced a review of the Lynas operation as promised……..

Lynas earlier this month flagged a temporary shutdown of its Malaysian processing plant, which could cost the company $16 million in lost revenue, if it doesn’t win local government approvals to lift production caps.  safe…….https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/malaysia-tells-lynas-remove-rare-earths-radioactive-waste-181204085233206.html

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December 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

Malaysia tells Lynas to remove rare earths radioactive waste

 Aljazeera, 4 Dec 18 Decision follows an expert review of the east coast facility’s operations. It has until September to remove the waste.

Decision follows an expert review of the east coast facility’s operations. It has until September to remove the waste.   Malaysia has told Lynas, the Australian company operating a rare earth elements processing plant on the country’s east coast, that it must remove the radioactive waste that accumulated as a result of its activities over the past six years if it wants to continue to operate.

The decision on Tuesday follows a review of Lynas operations in Malaysia that was initiated by the government that took power in May’s general election.

The “management of the waste residue from the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) should be given priority to ensure the wellbeing of the community and the environment”, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change said in a statement.

The residue, some of it radioactive, has been building up at an open landfill at the Lynas site near the city of Kuantan since the processing plant started operations in 2012.

“The Ministry is concerned with the increasing risk of arising from the continued accumulation of residue without a viable solution to manage its accumulation in the near-term,” the statement continued.

“For this reason, the Ministry will not allow the unlimited accumulation of residue at LAMP. The accumulated Water Leached Purification (WLP) Residue, which contains radioactive materials must be removed from Malaysia.”

Radioactive waste

While Lynas was considering recycling the waste as a soil conditioner, the ministry said the duration of the studies was too short to reach a conclusion on the plan’s safety. It said the waste would need to be removed from Malaysia by September 2, 2019, when Lynas’ temporary storage licence expires.

The decision is likely to come as a blow to Lynas. The Australian-listed company had been campaigning hard to convince the review committee, government and the public that the plant was  safe…….https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/malaysia-tells-lynas-remove-rare-earths-radioactive-waste-181204085233206.html

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Malaysia’s radioactive history from rare earths reprocessing

Radioactive legacy of Bukit Merah rare earths processing plant

Some of the surviving residents of Bukit Merah are still plagued with severe health problems. Until this very day, the Malaysian authorities refuse to acknowledge that the radioactive waste was responsible for the sudden escalation of health problems among the residents

Today, the government is the official custodian of this repository in Bukit Merah. This site in Bukit Merah is declared as a restricted and dangerous dump site for radioactive materials but a curtain of official silence has descended on it. Has the government not learnt from Bukit Merah?

The Lynas project is likely to be a replay of the ARE fiasco but on a much larger scale.

The benefits gained by Malaysia from the Lynas investment are very little relative to the risks involved. Whilst the profits of the project go to Lynas (untaxed) and the few Malaysian companies that are involved in the construction of and the provision of supplies to the Gebeng rare earth plant, the radioactive waste will remain in
Malaysian soil for hundreds of years.

Lynas issue: Not learning from bitter experience —The Malaysian Insider,  Richard Pendragon, April 12, 2012 “……..Bukit Merah The history of the rare earth industry in Malaysia is little known to most Malaysians. Most Malaysians in fact think that the Lynas project in Pahang is the first time Malaysia has been associated with this industry.
Few Malaysians actually know that there was a rare earth plant in Bukit Merah, Perak, which has been closed some 10 or more years ago, following a ruling by the High Court of Malaysia that the company involved was in negligence, and that the radioactive waste generated by the plant was dangerous and had to be removed and secured in a safe
place away from people for hundreds of years.

The evidence of the hazardous legacy of this rare earth plant is still present in our midst as a reminder to every one of the risks involved.
All you need is to take a trip to Bukit Merah and you will see the
existence of a restricted site where the toxic radioactive waste has
been stored in specially engineered concrete cells, and entombed
deeply in a repository, to prevent any leakage of radiation from the
radioactive waste for the next few hundred years.

T

he company that was involved in the rare earth plant was called Asian
Rare Earth Sdn Bhd (ARE). This was a joint venture established between
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) of Japan, Beh Minerals Sdn Bhd, the
local partner and the government, through Tabung Haji in the early
nineties.

ARE was based in Menglembu, Ipoh and the joint venture was founded on
the basis that the local partner  would supply the raw materials
(tailings from the many tin mines in Perak) and MCC would provide the
technology and expertise to extract the rare earth minerals, by a cracking process.

In this cracking process, along with the extraction of rare earth
minerals such as Monazite, Xenotime, Zircon, Yttrium etc, a waste
product called thorium hydroxide is produced and this substance is
radioactive.
Experts brought in to present evidence in support of the court hearing
against ARE testified that prolonged exposure to radiation leaked from
the radioactive waste materials from ARE’s rare earth plant would be
harmful to the health of the residents living in the Menglembu area,
where the plant was located.

ARE was subsequently closed and wound up.

The shareholders of the company had to engage a highly specialised
radioactive waste management consultancy firm from the US, called
Dames and Moore, to relocate, treat and dispose of the radioactive
waste from the dump site in Menglembu to a safe repository. The cost
of the whole exercise ran into hundreds of millions of US dollars to
contain radiation leak from the radioactive waste.

Meanwhile local residents have blamed the ARE refinery for the high
numbers of birth defects and leukaemia cases within the last five
years in a community of 11,000 — after many years of local history.

with no leukaemia cases. Seven of the leukemia victims have died.

Some of the surviving residents of Bukit Merah are still plagued with severe health problems. Until this very day, the Malaysian authorities refuse to acknowledge that the radioactive waste was responsible for the sudden escalation of health problems among the residents

Today, the government is the official custodian of this repository in
Bukit Merah. This site in Bukit Merah is declared as a restricted and
dangerous dump site for radioactive materials but a curtain of
official silence has descended on it.
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/lynas-issue-not-learning-from-bitter-experience-richard-pendragon

December 7, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment