Lynas to commence construction on the permanent deposit facility in early 2021


Rear earths are group of 17 metals. (Credit: Peggy Greb, US Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia)

Australian rare-earths mining company Lynas has secured approval from Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to build a permanent disposal facility for waste treatment.

Subject to the completion of relevant studies and securing final regulatory approvals, Lynas plans to commence construction on the permanent deposit facility (PDF), which will be used for water leach purification (WLP) residue, in early 2021.

The PDF will be built at a remote site in the Bukit Ketam area of Pahang State.

Lynas said that the PDF siting, design, construction, operation and closure at Bukit Ketam will comply with Malaysia’s regulatory requirements, IAEA recommendations and international best practices.

Lynas’ operating licence for Malaysian plant extended for three years

In February this year, Malaysia extended Lynas’ operating licence for the rare-earth processing plant for three years until early March 2023.

However, the licence renewal is subject to various conditions including the start of PDF developing process within the first year from the date of licence approval; submitting work development plan for the PDF construction; ensuring that the Cracking and Leaching plant outside Malaysia is operational before July 2023.

The license extension follows the signing of the deal by Lynas with the Malaysian state of Pahang to build a waste treatment plant, in January 2020.

Based on preliminary due diligence, a remote site in Bukit Ketam, Pahang was selected as the strategic location by the rare earths miner to construct the PDF.

Local contractor Gading Senggara was appointed by Lynas to manage the project for $98m.

In February 2020, Lynas was awarded major project status by the Australian government for its rare-earths processing plant in Kalgoorlie.