Wesfarmers has rejected any inference that its actions were inappropriate or intended to interfere with government process.
Days after the announcement, Lynas was forced to reveal plans for expansion in Western Australia that is now likely to include cracking and leaching operations which will remove the radioactive elements before shipping it to Malaysia.
“Our objective in developing these plans is to add to, not replace, our current operations. We believe this is still an achievable path,” the letter to investors said.
The Malaysian government is still drafting a formal statement clarifying the conditions that must now be met for Lynas’ licence to be renewed, including the removal of 450,000 tonnes of radioactive waste which has accumulated since 2012.
Environmental groups and Lynas Corp workers held rival demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday over concerns about this radioactive waste from the company’s billion-dollar rare earths processing plant in the country.
Some 200 protesters from more than 60 environment and civic groups called on Malaysia to suspend Lynas’s operating licence and to ensure it removes “toxic waste” from the country, according to a copy of the letter reviewed by Reuters.
About 300 Lynas workers from its plant in Kuantan, about 250 kilometres east of Kuala Lumpur, urged that any decisions be based on “scientific fact and evidence,” highlighting its importance for employment in the region.
“Lynas is a significant employer in Kuantan and Indera Mahkota area and 70 per cent of Lynas Malaysia’s staff are young. They are the future of Malaysia,” Lynas executive Mimi Afzan Afza said in a statement.
A statement from environment and civic groups said: “A responsible government must suspend Lynas’s operating licence, impose heavy fines and order the company to remove its toxic waste and clean up its contamination.”