‘Prob­lems came only af­ter Ly­nas’

Fuziah: We can­not pin­point it, but it all oc­curred only af­ter they started op­er­a­tions

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By ONG HAN SEAN [email protected]­tar.com.my

KUAN­TAN: Staunch Ly­nas op­po­nent Fuziah Salleh is main­tain­ing that the con­tam­i­na­tion of ground­wa­ter around the Ly­nas Ad­vanced Ma­te­ri­als Plant (Lamp) only oc­curred af­ter it started op­er­a­tions.

Although the Kuan­tan MP said she could not def­i­nitely point to­wards Ly­nas as the cause, she claimed the pol­lu­tion did not hap­pen be­fore the rare earth re­fin­ery was set up in Gebeng here.

“I am main­tain­ing it is al­ready con­tam­i­nated with heavy met­als af­ter Ly­nas got into place and it can­not be due to baux­ite. The base­line be­fore Ly­nas started op­er­a­tions did not show con­tam­i­na­tion.

“I am aware there are al­le­ga­tions that it is due to baux­ite but I have a pa­per which says baux­ite does not con­tain nickel,” she said at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

The ex­ec­u­tive re­view com­mit­tee on Ly­nas’ op­er­a­tions noted in its re­port that there was a wor­ry­ing amount of nickel and chromium in ground­wa­ter sam­ples taken from Septem­ber 2015 to Septem­ber 2016.

In a state­ment, Ly­nas said it was dis­ap­pointed that cer­tain politi­cians were mis­lead­ing the pub­lic by is­su­ing in­ac­cu­rate state­ments about the re­view com­mit­tee’s find­ings.

The com­pany said the com­mit­tee’s re­port made no find­ings as to the ori­gins of the ma­te­ri­als in the ground­wa­ter and in­stead rec­om­mended that fur­ther stud­ies be un­der­taken.

“There are many po­ten­tial sources and rea­sons for the heavy metal pres­ence in ground­wa­ter and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is in­cor­rect and mis­lead­ing,” it said.

“It must also be pointed out that Ly­nas stores all the residues (wa­ter leach pu­rifi­ca­tion and neu­tral­i­sa­tion un­der­flow) in spe­cially de­signed, con­structed and op­er­ated stor­age fa­cil­i­ties ap­proved by the reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties.

“Be­sides the use of dou­ble liner sys­tem that pre­vent any leach­ing, all stor­age cells are equipped with Un­der­line Leak De­tec­tion Sys­tem that mon­i­tors any leaks from the cells.

“Such mon­i­tor­ing has been go­ing on since the stor­age fa­cil­i­ties were first used,” said Ly­nas, adding that its data had not shown any leaks com­ing from any of the cells.

Asked about Ly­nas’ plan to ex­er­cise le­gal op­tions, Fuziah, who is Deputy Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment, said the gov­ern­ment was ready for it.

At the press con­fer­ence, the anti-Ly­nas move­ment, in­clud­ing Save Malaysia, Stop Ly­nas and Him­punan Hi­jau, also is­sued a joint state­ment back­ing En­ergy, Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter Yeo Bee Yin’s de­ci­sion for Ly­nas to re­move its wa­ter leach pu­rifi­ca­tion (WLP) waste from Malaysia.

They called on Yeo to fur­ther en­force the rel­e­vant reg­u­la­tions to make Ly­nas carry out a thor­ough clean-up of sites con­tam­i­nated with CondiSoil and other tri­als where WLP waste had been added.

“The only rea­son Ly­nas has not been found to have vi­o­lated and breached the li­cence con­di­tions and our law is due to the fail­ure of our reg­u­la­tors in en­forc­ing their man­dated roles in the in­ter­ests of Malaysia and Malaysians.

“We will fol­low this mat­ter up with the Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion with ev­i­dence in due course,” the anti-Ly­nas ac­tivists said.

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