Turn minerals into value-added products – Amaraweera

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BY Thameenah Razeek

Officials from the Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd., (LMSL) said foreign exchange earnings were still at a low ebb owing to the export of high-valued minerals such as Ilmenite, Rutile, and Zircon. In this backdrop, LMSL has taken steps to adopt a new system to sell minerals.

Minister of Environment,  Mahinda Amaraweera recently went on an observation tour of the LMSL factory in Pulmoddai.

According to company officials, measures have been taken to sell minerals at a high price; a tonne of Rutile sells at USD 1733, Ilmenite at  USD 251, and Hi-Titanium Ilmenite at USD 250. Agreements have been signed to provide the State with more than seven per cent of the value per tonne.

The new system has been designed, so that the Government would get substantial revenue.

The Minister pointed out that exporting these minerals as value-added products to foreign markets have the potential to earn enormous income It appears that despite the Government’s advice to implement the value-added manufacturing programme, the LMSL has hardly contributed towards this endeavour.

Hence, the Minister of Environment directed officials to take steps to develop local minerals as value-added products. 

“At the moment, LMSL exports approximately 100,000 metric tons (MT) of mineral sand per year. As raw material, 90,000 MT Ilmenite, 9,000 MT of Rutile and 5,500 MT of zircon are exported,” he said.