Laugfs, SLINTEC tie up for natural mineral sand processing
Laugfs Holdings Limited entered into a strategic agreement with Sri
Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) to process natural mineral
sands for value addition.
The landmark agreement was signed yesterday creating a PPP venture to
set up country’s first ever plant to produce titanium dioxide from
Laugfs Holdings Chairman W.K.H. Wegapitiya, Senior Minister
Tissa Vitarana and SLINTEC
and other officials at the tie up. Picture by Nissanka Wijeratne
The agreement will be an initiative to bring in more foreign exchange
in to the country where at present mineral sand is exported in raw form
in bulk. The country imports processed sand paying 10 to 15 percent more
in value thus making the industry a negative contributor to the economy.
Our efforts will reverse this trend, Laugfs Holdings Chairman W.K.H.
“Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and companies should be encouraged to
venture into similar businesses leading to value addition. Although, we
believe that FDI is key for economic development, it has not made
significant impact on the economy. Therefore entrepreneurs with new
thinking to take maximum advantage of our natural resources to engage in
scientific research are the need of the hour,” he said. The country is
rich with key ingredients of natural resources as factors of production,
location specific advantages and entrepreneurship which according to
Michael Porter are the pre-requisites of economic development.
We are rich with all three factors and also possess knowledge but not
have reached the developed nation status. This is a concern and need
corrective action. “We are a truly Sri Lankan company and this venture
is going beyond commercial consideration to give back to society.
We are creating synergy with the agreement which could lead to new
knowledge and confident that the country will benefit in the long run,”
A fully fledged manufacturing plant will be set up shortly to produce
different value added chemical from mineral sand.
Sri Lanka is estimated to have 18 million metric tons of ilmenite
reserves, the world’s ninth largest deposit.
The country’s North and the East beach sands contained about 70 to 72
percent ilmenite and it is estimated to have 6 to 8 million metric tons
of ilmenite according to the surveys of the Geological Survey and Mines
Bureau of Sri Lanka.
Pulmoddai ilmenite is known to contain about 50 to 60 percent of
titanium dioxide in its composition.
The SLINTEC has developed a proprietary process to produce TiO2 and
nano TiO2 starting with ilmenite obtained from Pulmoddai. Signing of
this agreement will initiate the commissioning of a pilot plant and then
a large scale commercial plant where the project will be completed in