Sri Lanka to probe mineral exploration on Mannar Island by Australian company

Sri Lanka to probe mineral exploration on Mannar Island by Australian company

Sri Lanka to probe mineral exploration on Mannar Island by Australian company

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

15 Jul, 2020 | 10:16 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to appoint a committee to probe a mineral exploration project involving an Australian company on Mannar Island.

This was after a News1st investigation exposed an unauthorized mineral exploration project on Mannar Island involving an Australian Company named Titanium Sands Ltd.

“We will investigate whether this company, Titanium Sands Ltd.  holds a permit to research mineral sands in Mannar,” industries minister Wimal Weerawansa said on Wednesday.

The committee would be tasked with identifying the authority under which Titanium Sands Ltd. has been carrying out exploration activities on Mannar Island, according to a cabinet paper seen by News1st.

Titanium Sands Ltd. claimed it had used the exploration licences of the subsidiaries of two Mauritius companies named Srinel Holdings Ltd. and Bright Angel Ltd.

The Australian company said it had owned both these Mauritius companies.

However, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau told News1st that the local companies that owned licences had not informed them regarding the involvement of any of the two Mauritius companies or the Australian company.

“Even though such a permit is not given they are promoting this in an international level saying they have been granted such a permit,” the minister added.

An email sent by News 1st to Titanium Sands Ltd. seeking a clarification on its authority to carry out exploration activities went unanswered.

Company records of the licence holders studied by News1st also did not indicate the involvement of a foreign company.

The committee, that is to be appointed, has also been tasked with identifying whether the licence holders had inked an agreement with Titanium Sands Ltd.

Other responsibilities include studying the process of issuing exploration and mining licences, and the requirements that must be fulfilled to obtain them.

The Australian company had announced its intentions to embark on a mining project on Mannar Island after discovering 265 metric tonnes of minerals through a series of exploration activities carried out since 2015.

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