Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Sri Lanka Could Expand Mineral Sand Mining

by Lanka Business Report, November 5, 2009

In 2007 China was the top buyer of Sri Lankan mineral sands. Sri Lanka has exported 15,876 tonnes of ilmenite to China in 2008, down from 20,836 tonnes a year before. India was the second largest buyers with 5,783 tonnes and Japan was third at 500 tonnes.

Tussle for Titanium by Sivaram 1997

Sri Lanka recommissions disputed Ilmenite factory by TamilNet 2004

Acrimony brews again over Pulmoddai sands by Tamil Guardian 2005

Sri Lanka has a chance to expand the mining of mineral sands deposits especially in the north east of the island with the end of a three decade war, the island's geological survey office has said.

From 2007 production of ilemenite, rutile and zircon has started in the north east coastal area of Pulmoddai by stater-run Lanka Mineral Sands Limited. In 1979 Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GMSB), then known as the Geological Survey Department had discovered heavy mineral sand deposits at Nayaru, Thvikallu and Pudovakkadu areas between Mullativu and Nilaveli areas.

In 1980 and 1981, Intersite BV, a Dutch firm had made a detailed investigation. GMSB says there were "promising deposits" with a reserve of about 7.2 million tonnes of heavy minerals.

Sri Lanka's internal conflict intensified in the mid-1980 and parts of northern Sri Lanka came under the control of Tamil Tiger separatists until they were wiped out in May 2009.

In 1988, Iluka Resources, an Australian firm had found reserve around Puttalam in the north west coastal belt. The reserve is estimated 1.07 billion tonnes of sand with 7 to 8 percent heavy minerals mainly ilmenite, GMSB said.

Other beach mineral sand deposits that could be mined have been found in Induruwa and Beruwala (rich in monazite, zircon and garnet) in the southwest coast, near the mouth of the Kelani River in Colombo, Negambo to the north of Colombo and Hambantota (garnet) in the South coast.

In 2004 a firm called Alchemy Heavy Metal (Pvt) Ltd has started a mineral sand separation plant to produce rutile and zircon from sand bought from Lanka Mineral for export.

GMSB says Lanka Mineral Sands is seeking partners to make value added products from mineral sands.

In 2007 China was the top buyer of Sri Lankan mineral sands. Sri Lanka has exported 15,876 tonnes of ilmenite to China in 2008, down from 20,836 tonnes a year before. India was the second largest buyers with 5,783 tonnes and Japan was third at 500 tonnes. In 2007, Austria had bought 75,700 tonnes of Ilmenite.

China had bought a record 8,612 tonnes of rutile in 2009, up from 1,080 a year before. India was the second largest buyer at 2,369 tonnes.

China had bought 2,546 tonnes of zircon in 2008, down from 9,396 tonnes in 2007. India was the second largest buyer at 1,152 tonnes.

In 2007, Austria had bought 75,700 tonnes of Ilmenite.

China had bought a record 8,612 tonnes of rutile in 2009, up from 1,080 a year before. India was the second largest buyer at 2,369 tonnes.

China had bought 2,546 tonnes of zircon in 2008, down from 9,396 tonnes in 2007. India was the second largest buyer at 1,152 tonnes.