Sri Lanka tableware industry seeks kaolin mining revival

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan ceramic tableware manufacturers are trying to revive kaolin or china clay mining to reduce reliance on imports, according to the head of a top Japanese tableware exporter with a factory in the island.

Hidenori Tanaka, chairman and managing director of Noritake Lanka Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd., said that access to kaolin was one of the difficulties faced by tableware firms in the country which was known for having good quality raw materials.

“One of the strengths of Sri Lanka is availability of good quality raw materials,” he said in a speech at the annual meeting of the Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council which groups manufacturers of ceramic tableware, tiles and sanitaryware, clay roof tiles and glass bottles.

The island had good deposits of kaolin, feldspar, silica and quarts which were used by manufacturers.

“But unfortunately mining and processing of kaolin has been stopped and all ceramic manufacturers are forced to import kaolin from overseas,” Tanaka said.

The ceramics and glass council was working with Lanka Ceramic, the main supplier of clay raw material to the industry, to resume kaolin processing so imports can be stopped.

The main kaolin mines are in Meetiyagoda, in the southwestern coastal region.
(COLOMBO, 22 November 2019)