Court delays Lynas licence hearing

  • From:Dow Jones Newswires 
  • October 04, 2012 4:36PM

A MALAYSIAN high court has postponed the hearing on a temporary operating licence recently granted to Lynas Corp to October10, further delaying the Australian miner’s bid to fire up its $230 million rare-earth refinery plant in the eastern state of Pahang.

The court had earlier suspended any activity, including importing material extracted from its Mount Weld rare-earth deposit in Western Australia, following an appeal by activists led by environmental group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas that said Lynas’s planned refining operations pose health and environmental concerns.

“The adjournment is to allow time for us to reply to an affidavit filed by Lynas on Wednesday,” said Hon Kai Ping, lawyer for Save Malaysia after the court decision. The court was expected to decide on an injunction sought by the group to block the temporary licence.

Lynas confirmed it had submitted additional affidavits before the hearing, however, it declined to comment further. The company last week said it would “strongly assert” its right to operate after being granted the temporary licence.

 The Malaysian government had issued the licence in September after a five-year wait. The plant promises to turn Lynas into one of the world’s biggest suppliers of rare earths – crucial raw materials used in wind turbines, hybrid cars and music players.

A temporary licence will allow the company to ramp up production at the Malaysian facility to nameplate capacity and sell its products, Lynas said earlier.

If Lynas complies with the strict monitoring and government oversight requirements of the temporary licence, a permanent operating licence can be issued within two years.

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