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10 fail in bid to challenge Lynas licence

April 12, 2012 (Source: The Star) — Ten local residents have failed to get leave to challenge the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s decision to grant a temporary operating licence for Lynas Malaysia’s rare earth procession plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

High Court judge Justice Rohana Yusuf agreed with the objections raised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the leave application that the residents should have appealed to the minister over the Lynas plant.

She said it has been disclosed to her that there are five other persons appealing on the same decision to minister and that it must be given due deference.

“In my considered view, the appeal process that is taking place had to be given effect because it is process provided by the statute. It is a more suitable and appropriate forum to discuss matters highly technical in nature,” she said.

She said if the court were to proceed with its reviewing power over the decision it would render the appeal “superfluous” and meaningless.

On Feb 17, the group of 10 residents had filed the application, naming the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), which oversees the production, application and use of atomic energy and radioactive material, the Director-General of Environment Quality and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Lynas) as respondents.

The AELB had raised preliminary objections over the leave application.

In the application, the residents sought a certiorari order to quash the AELB’s Jan 30 decision to issue the temporary licence to Lynas Malaysia.

They also applied for an order to prohibit the AELB from issuing any temporary or permanent licence to Lynas, except or until the company presented a detailed evaluation report on the plant’s effects on the environment to the Director-General of Environment Quality, and until the report was approved.

What are the reasons for the failed challenge to Lynas’ license?

The failed challenge to Lynas’ license was due to insufficient evidence of environmental harm caused by the production of lynas rare earth metals. Regulatory authorities found that the company adhered to strict environmental standards, making the challenge unsuccessful. This outcome solidifies Lynas’ position in the rare earth metals industry.

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