Mining firm facing resistance in Thirukkoayil shifts exploitation area with fresh tactics

[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 May 2018, 16:18 GMT]
Damsila Exports Pvt Ltd., a big company exporting phlogopite mica and other minerals from the island, has shifted its plan of excavating Ilmenite resources in Thirukkoayil North of Ampaa'rai district after the people mobilised against the move in December 2017. The company is now trying to deceive the people along the southern sector of the same division, Tamil activists in Thirukkoayil said. Damsila Exports is the premier mica mining and export company headquartered in Colombo. It is exporting phlogopite mica from the island under semi-processed and powder form to Japan, China, Germany and India. At present, about 65% of phlogopite mica product is sent to Japan according to the website of the company.

Damsila Exports has been in the business for 40 years.

The move for the exploitation of the resources along the coast of Thirukkoayil in the country of Eezham Tamils has been stepped up after the end of the genocidal war against Eezham Tamils in May 2009. The corporate exploitation was not possible under the de-facto Tamil Eelam administration of the LTTE, the grassroots organisations in Thirukkoayil said.

Last year, the company was targeting Thampaddai and Thampiluvil in Thirukkoayil. But it faced stiff resistance from the villagers. Around 3,000 villagers came together demonstrating against the plan in December 2017.

Now, the company has moved its focus to Changkamam-kiraamam GS division in Thaa'ndaiyadi in Thirukkoayil South.

The company has also changed its tactics. A team from the company is currently engaged in a propaganda campaign among the people in the name of collecting details of the families to assess their needs. The propaganda team of the company claims that it would be planting trees to conserve the ecosystem. The team also claims to provide assistance to fisheries and rural women development societies in an effort to contain protests from the grassroots organisations.

But, such claims of conservation have failed in other places such as in Pulmoaddai, the activists in Thampaddai said urging awareness among the people in the south of Thirukkoayil.

The excavation of ilmenite is destructive as the soil, and the ecosystem would be affected by it, the activists who have also been watching the response of the people in the state of Tamil Nadu in India.

The only way to keep their ecosystem intact was mobilising against the moves coming through the corporate culture associated with the ruling Establishments was the lesson they have learnt through mainstream Tamil media from Tamil Nadu as well as through the social media.

Also, the lessons learnt by Tamil-speaking Muslim people of Pulmoaddai to the north of Trincomalee is the same, the Tamil people living along the coast of Thirukkoayil say.


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