Environment Minister instructs to export mineral sands as value added products

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera recently visited the Lanka Mineral Sands factory in Pulmoddai on an observation tour.

Briefing the Minister, the company officials pointed out that the foreign exchange earnings remain low due to the export of high value minerals such as ilmenite, rutile and zircon as raw materials to foreign countries. Therefore, the Lanka Mineral Sands Company has taken steps to introduce a new methodology for the sale of Sri Lanka’s minerals, officials of the company told the Minister.

The officials told the minister that measures have been taken to sell the minerals at the highest prices ever in the history and accordingly a ton of rutile will be sold for US $ 1733, a ton of ilmenite for $ 251 and a ton of Hi-Titanium ilmenite for $ 250. Agreements have been signed to give more than 7% for each ton as the state share.

Due to this, the new system has been set up in such a way that the government can earn a large amount of revenue, the officials said.

However, the Minister has pointed out that exporting these minerals to foreign markets as value-added products has the potential to generate huge revenues.

Despite instructions from the government to take immediate action to implement the value-added manufacturing program, the Lanka Mineral Sands Company has so far taken no action.

Therefore, the Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the officials of the company to take steps to develop Sri Lanka Minerals as value added products in the future.

At present the Lanka Mineral Sands Company’s annually export about 100,000 metric tons (MT) of mineral sand. Out of this, 90,000 MT ilmenite, 9000 MT rutile and 5,500 MT zircon are exported as raw material.

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