‘Problems came only after Lynas’
Fuziah: We cannot pinpoint it, but it all occurred only after they started operations
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.