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Value added touch for minerals

COLOMBO: The Ministry of Environment has decided to depart from the lengthy practice of exporting the country's mineral resources as raw material and instead go for the value added product.

Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that a number of minerals, including phosphate, silicon and iron ore, currently exported as raw material, would be stopped in keeping with the new plan.

He told the Daily News that his Ministry planned to create a background for larger industrial prospects by using the country's mineral resources for value added exports.

"This will be one of the most important programmes as far as the Environment Ministry is concerned under the Government's 10-Year Development Plan," he said.

"However, I plan to do my best to serve the public within the next three years before the end of the tenure of this Parliament in three years," the Minister said.

Ranawaka said the programme was aimed at making the best use of the country's mineral resources to make the best possible profits for the State.

He said it has been assessed that sending of these minerals as value added products would boost the country's economy.

Dwelling on the problems associated with the city's solid waste management, Rananwaka said this was one of the key areas that was on the priority list.

He said steps would be taken from March, where they plan to introduce the Ministry's Waste Disposal Project, to address this issue.

"I have seen garbage mountains at Mt. Lavinia, Attidiya, Wattala and on Bloemendhal Road. All this is because of illegal garbage dumping," he said.

Steps will be taken to introduce land filling techniques against this problem, he said.

"Most garbage related problems are associated with water. This should be stopped at once. I plan to introduce a policy in this aspect," he said.

He said new regulations would be introduced to prevent air pollution. New methodologies will be introduced to reduce sulphur content and other chemical contents emitted through the smoke from belching vehicles, he said.

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