The fate of a Malaysian lead-acid battery plant owned by Leoch Accupower will be confirmed this month after a four-month governmental probe to decide if the facility is an environmental hazard.
A verdict on whether to maintain or relocate the battery manufacturing plant in Jenjarom, Selangor state, will be made at the end of this month, Malaysian news outlets have reported.
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Environment (DoE) and the Selangor Health Department are set to deliver a report to Selangor Economic Action Council, which will make the final decision.
To facilitate local authority environmental impact assessments, the plant was partly closed from March to May and resumed full operation in June, under a business operating licence granted by the local government.
Residents surrounding the plant have been urging the state to close the plant indefinitely and relocate it, reported the Star Online.
A Leoch spokesman told BEST Battery Briefing: “As a responsible player, Leoch places corporate social responsibility at the heart of its core values.
“We understand residents’ concerns. However, according to the local government, our plant has fully complied with all environmental regulations and we believe that it won’t pose any threat to the environment.”
Sealed lead-acid and valve regulated lead-acid batteries firm Leoch Accupower was launched in 2011 through a joint venture between Malaysian firm Accupro and Leoch Investments (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leoch International Technology).
The plant at Jenjarom occupies 24,280m2, and is capable of producing 18,000 metric tonnes of batteries per year.
The Leoch spokesman said: “There was a fire at the plant in December 2017, which had caused a temporary disruption of our operation. However, with the support of the local government, the plant has returned to operation after the reconstruction.”
Priority will be given to the environment, but the state is “obliged to also act fairly to all stakeholders, including investors, so long as they comply with all terms and conditions”, news outlet Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted Hee Loy Sian (pictured), chairman of the Selangor Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee, as saying.
“In the case of battery manufacturer Leoch Accupower, the state has conducted investigations and is still studying whether its activities have contributed to pollution of the water, air and soil,” FMT reported Sian as saying.
Selangor’s DoE and Selangor Water Management Authority have been conducting acidity tests on the soil and underground water surrounding Kampung Jenjarom.