ECONOMYNEXT – China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) is in talks with Sri Lanka over a 310 million US dollar mineral sand project, Sri Lanka’s embassy in Beijing said.
Wang Zhou, Managing Director, China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) International and MCC Sri Lanka had met Ambassador Palitha Kohona for talks on February 26, the embassy said.
The mineral sands project could be worth 310 million dollars, the embassy said, without elaborating.
Sri Lanka has several sea sand deposits in the Northwest of the island such as in Pulmoddai which get replenished over wave action. Now a state-run corporation exports raw sand.
Sri Lanka’s mneral sands include monazite and zircon which are believed to contain rare earth elements (REEs) such as cerium.
‘Rare’ earth elements may not actually be rare but up to now only a few countries had been producing them. REE use has been expanding in new technology areas such as renewable energy and electronics.
China is a leading producer of rare earth elements, and nobody bothered much about them until the country started placing export restrictions, which led to a rush to develop new sources.
MCC’s construction units had built in infrastructure in Sri Lanka and the firm has had a presence in the island for many years.
Ambassador Kohona had also invited MCC to invest in Colombo Port City, a sea reclamation project by China Harbhour Engineering, for which the government is giving attractive incentives.
Colombo Port City has put the put the first set of land for sale. (Colombo/Feb27/2021)