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Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd lacks technology to add value for heavy metals

May 04, Colombo (LNW): Lanka Mineral Sands Limited a fully state owned enterprise established  in 1992 has still been unable to export minerals in value added form due to its long term practice of  mining , processing and exporting heavy mineral beach sands.

This was highlighted in Auditor Generals latest report observing that lack of proper market research and a market plan, following an effective methodology for finding new buyers were the reason for the company’s failure to export value added mineral sands. 

The report that minerals with a high market value cannot be separated from sand as a result of using outdated machinery.

As per the cabinet decision dated 12 February 2020 the company should have paid attention on exporting value added products overseas without sending mineral sand in the  form of raw materials. 

But, necessary steps have not been taken till May 31 2023 on the date of government audit inspection and mineral sand was exporting in the form of raw material, the report added. 

According to government audit findings, the company had been involved for several years to construct a new mineral sand plant at Kokilai in the Mullaitivu district.

A land of 17.69 hectares was purchased on February 13 2013 for Rs 2.25 million, and before planning the plant operations a spiral machine was purchased for Rs.39 million and kept it idle at Pulmoddai plant. 

The operation of the plant has not been started until year 2022 and machinery is now in a dilapidated condition.

Sri Lanka’s economically viable mineral sands consist of quartz, graphite, and dimension stone. 

However, the country has no infrastructure to convert these raw minerals into finished products, a high official of the ministry of industries disclosed.  

Sri Lanka’s mineral industry is still depending on archaic technologies and practices, he said adding that this inaction has stalled the country from fully exploiting on its plentiful mineral fortune.

He emphasised the urgent need of  acquiring modern technology and machinery for the processing  of mineral sands to produce value added minerals of high quality by minimising waste.

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