EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s state-owned minerals sands producer has decided to go for value addition and make zircon flour possibly in a joint venture with a foreign investor, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement.
Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd (LMSL) made a net profit of 2.4 million US dollars in 2014, with sales up 80 percent to nine million dollars.
LMSL now exports in mineral sand products used globally like zircon, rutile and high-titanium ilmenite, each of which are extracted separately from mineral sand.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has asked LMSL to go for higher grade zircon flour production and other value additions to double mineral export revenues.
He said LMSL can consider a joint venture private public partnership for value addition if it cannot do so on its own, a statement said.
LMSL chairman Mahinda Moragolle said zircon is considered to be a ‘valuable’ mineral sand and one third of present zircon production is used in ceramics.
The statement said one tonne of LMSL made zircon at the stage of extraction from mineral sand and before further processing fetches 850 dollars on the global market.
“If it is further processed to zircon flour, the price climbs to 1,600 per metric tonne, thereby immediately doubling zircon export revenues.”
(Colombo/July 15, 2015)