Review Committee Report Summary

5 December 2018

The Review Committee report in respect of Lynas Malaysia can be accessed via the following link (the report is in Bahasa Malay):

The report finds Lynas Malaysia’s operations are low risk and compliant with applicable laws.  This is consistent with our ‘Zero Harm’ philosophy and with the findings of all 7 previous reviews in Malaysia (comprising 2 IAEA reports, a Parliamentary Select Committee and 4 court challenges).

Lynas CEO Amanda Lacaze said:  “We thank the Review Committee for its diligent and thorough approach. I would like to thank all our employees who have demonstrated their resilience and their commitment to Lynas Malaysia, to our communities, and to our high standards of safety and performance. I would also like to thank our local communities in the Gebeng area for their ongoing support of Lynas Malaysia.”

The Review Committee conducted an extensive tour of Lynas’ operations, reviewed data from Lynas’ monitoring, relevant regulators and peer-reviewed research, and met with regulators, independent experts and local community members.

The Review Committee identified many positive aspects of Lynas Malaysia’s operations, including:

  • The operations are based on controlled technologies and procedures with low risk
  • Lynas Malaysia voluntarily adopts international standards and practices.
  • Lynas Malaysia meets quality investment criteria of high technology industries, with an emphasis on R&D and creating high-performance jobs with skills and knowledge-intensive jobs.
  • Employees’ exposures to radiation and non-radiation hazards were below the permitted level and occupational health surveillance does not show any disparity in health status.

We regard any review as an opportunity to improve and we will seek to voluntarily implement the Review Committee’s recommendations.  The recommendations include for Lynas to:

  • Prepare and build safe storage sites for NUF residues and prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this purpose.
  • Determine the location and build a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for the WLP residue, including identifying sites for PDF construction before the renewal of the next licence.
  • Be prepared to export WLP residues from Malaysia if the PDF location is not identified or approved.
  • Continue all studies on recycling of NUF residue.
  • Carry out studies to reduce the residues produced by looking at process improvement and modification to reduce waste generation based on residual waste management hierarchy that specify the reduction of waste as a primary criteria.
  • Conduct groundwater monitoring and conduct studies on the Balok River aquatic ecosystem including biological monitoring.
  • Devise more effective communication strategies to provide the public and NGOs with more accurate and up-to-date facts.

The Review Committee also provided the following recommendations for implementation by the government:

  • Establish an independent Research and Development (R&D) Committee funded by Lynas. The scope of the R&D to be carried out should be expanded to include the development of downstream industries as well as other areas covering health, social sciences, socio-economic, entrepreneurship and others.
  • Create a community health surveillance system.
  • Establish a monitoring committee including relevant ministries/departments, experts in the identified field, representatives from non-governmental organizations, local representatives, Lynas management and other stakeholders.

The Review Committee noted the general public’s confusion in assessing the impact of radiation from a Rare Earths plant processing material containing Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) versus a nuclear plant.

The Review Committee also noted that high-tech industries that use NORM are the industries that will grow rapidly in the future. It recommended that the government look at the development of the industry holistically to create appropriate ecosystems supported by legislation, governance, education, human capital development, R&D&I (research and development and innovation) and ethics that meet the latest international standards to achieve sustainable development and investment.