By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka is to explore the high potential of mineral sands to become the next ‘billion-dollar industry’ in the country attracting foreign investors to develop the mineral sand exports with much value addition, Chairman of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GMSB) R. Sanjeepan disclosed.
It will host the first-ever International Mining and Mineral Conference, investor forum and exhibition next month.
Ministry of Environment has planned the two day event at the BMICH in Colombo from 21 October, which has received the cabinet nod.
At least 500 foreign investors involved in the industry will be attracted to the event, he said.
The govern t plans to make the maximum utilization of its mineral resources to bolster the nation’s economic growth, and the potential for creating value-added products from these resources, a state minister said.
“Given the island nation’s rich mineral resources, the government has devised plans to expand investment opportunities,” State minister of Urban Development and Housing, Arundika Fernando said.
“The ministry taken the decision to extend investment prospects along the country’s coastline, collaborating closely with agencies such as the Investment Promotion Board and the Ministry of Lands,” Fernando said.
The minster said they were considering the introduction of a specialized bank dedicated to the development of domestic industries and introducing new legislation.
“The ministry will be introducing a new environmental protection and ocean protection bill in our country. This legislation will play a vital role in safeguarding our natural resources.”
“The Department of Coastal Conservation actively participates in initiatives aimed at enhancing the value of our mineral resources. These resources have the potential to yield significant value through the production of value-added goods.”
“The primary focus must centre on pioneering innovative programs that contribute to our country’s economic recovery. Timely and effective resource management is crucial for initiating income-generating initiatives.
Sri Lanka’s state-run Lanka Mineral Sands Limited is to export 60,000 metric tonnes of ilmenite to China this month after a shipment of 30,000 tonnes of Zircon mineral sands was shipped out of Trincomalee harbour earlier this month.
The EDB said it had identified the value-added mineral products sector as a potential sector to be developed and promoted in the international market, and met with members of the Chamber of Mineral Exporters (CME) to discuss growing the mineral-based industry in Sri Lanka.
CME members requested the government foster foreign investments and proposed that the state conduct a comprehensive ore reserves study to maintain transparency and informed decision-making within the industry.
They asked for government support in research and development, and a 300% tax rebate for research and development activities in collaboration with Sri Lankan educational institutions.
They also requested revising royalty systems grounded in pithead value, in line with international norms and pointed out the need for an equitable approach to royalty calculations to ease the financial burden on mining entities.