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Malaysia grants Lynas 6-month extension to operate Gebeng rare earths plant

Lynas Corp. Ltd. confirmed Aug. 16 that the Malaysian government granted the company a six-month extension to operate the Gebeng rare earths processing plant.

The extension is shorter than the usual three years the government gives, confirming an earlier Reuters report. To secure a longer license renewal, Malaysia required Lynas to build a cracking and leaching facility overseas within four years, after which it will not be allowed to produce radioactive residue of more than 1 becquerel per gram at Gebeng.

Lynas must also craft a development plan for a permanent disposal facility, including an official written approval from the host country. In addition, Lynas was also asked to stop all of its research and development activities related to the processing of radioactive waste into an agricultural soil product.

The Malaysian government earlier confirmed the license renewal after deciding to drop the export of water leach purification residue as a condition for the extension. Lynas' current license will expire Sept. 2.

Earlier this month, Lynas said it welcomed the country's decision, adding that it was already conducting preliminary work to identify a location for a permanent disposal facility.