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thebull.com.au – LYNAS CONFIDENT OF MALAYSIA PLANT LICENCE

Mr Curtis’ frustration at speculation surrounding the licence was evident during a teleconference with analysts and media on Tuesday, saying there was no news he could provide on the licence application.

By AAP 31.01.2012 06:54 PM

Lynas Corporation remains confident the rare earths miner will secure a licence for its processing plant in Malaysia despite local opposition.

The Sydney-based company cannot send concentrate from its already-commissioned Mount Weld processing operation in Western Australia to its 91 per cent-complete advanced materials plant unless it gains a Malaysian licence to do so.

Lynas chief executive Nicholas Curtis says he’s confident the miner will be successful in being granted at least a temporary licence allowing the advanced materials plant to start production in the second quarter of 2012.

Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board has authority over the plant because radioactive materials are naturally present in rare earths.

The radiation risk has fuelled fears among local communities, environmental groups and Malaysia’s opposition party, which says it will stop the plant if elected to government.

Mr Curtis’ frustration at speculation surrounding the licence was evident during a teleconference with analysts and media on Tuesday, saying there was no news he could provide on the licence application.

“It is in the hands of the government,” he said.

“I will not pre-empt the government’s position.”

When asked whether Lynas had an alternative plan for the plant if the licence was not granted, Mr Curtis said “we are confident of business plan we have at the moment”.

Mr Curtis bristled when asked about media reports citing a Malaysian opposition member of parliament, Fuziah Salleh, as saying any licence granted to Lynas would be revoked if the Anwar Ibrahim-led People’s Alliance coalition got into power.

“I can’t help ill-informed press speculation,” Mr Curtis said.

“She is the only person who has come out and said that the opposition would potentially revoke (the licence).”

Mr Ibrahim has reportedly voiced his opposition to the Lynas plant.

Mr Curtis said Lynas was “far exceeding” the usual levels of community engagement undertaken by most heavy industry companies, holding face-to-face meetings with about 5,000 people.

Lynas last month reported a seven per cent increase in the total capital cost for the now-delayed plant to $640.9 million, attributing the rise to procurement issues and the recent monsoon season.

Shares in Lynas closed up 1.5 cents at $1.325.

http://www.thebull.com.au/articles/a/25771-lynas-confident-of-malaysia-plant-licence.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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