Colombo schemes to expand ilmenite scooping into North from Pulmoaddai in East

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 July 2020, 19:36 GMT]
Occupying Colombo is silently expanding its scheme to excavate ilmenite mineral to the north of Kokku'laay lagoon after exploiting the silica-rich sand in Pulmoaddai located in Trincomalee to the south of the provincial border. Systematic surveying has been going on since 2016, and the incumbent administration under Gotabaya Rajapaksa is accelerating the plan, informed civil sources in Mullaiththeevu said. The planned exploitation, if allowed to proceed unchecked, could result in an environmental disaster, the sources said seeking the attention of environmentalists, academics, journalists and the politicians among the Eezham Tamils.

The initial expansion is targeting the coastal stretch in Karaithu'raip-pattu division. The encroaching Sinhala fishermen from South have seized the fishing resources of Eezham Tamils with the backing of the SL Navy and the fisheries department in Colombo after 2009.

The mineral reserves are found from Pulmoaddai beach in Trincomalee to Vadamaraadchi in Jaffna.

The mineral, exported by “Sri Lanka” Export Development Board to external countries, is consumed by industrial powers, which seek Ilmenite (FeTiO2) and rutile (TiO2) used for various industries, from graphite lubricants to nano-technology.

Revenues of ilmenite sales from Pulmoaddai have not benefited the people of the previously merged North-Eastern Province or the Eastern province where Pulmoaddai is located.

Similarly, the expansion of the scheme into Kokku'laay in Mullaiththeevu is not going to benefit the residents of Vanni, Tamil grassroots activists in Vanni commented.

The academics and journalists among the Eezham Tamils and the Tamil-speaking Muslims need to focus their resources were being exploited by the SL State, they said.

Colombo's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau has been conducting preliminary examinations of the coastal sand without involving the provincial or local authorities.

An initial area of 4,500 acres has already been demarcated in Kokku'laay, the sources said.

NE & SW winds
The formation of sand dunes in the Jaffna peninsula. Note the sandbanks stretching from the Indian coast. [Satellite Image Courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth. Details & Legend: TamilNet]

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