- TSL’s activities currently limited to exploration activities
- No mining taking place on Mannar Island
- Marine environment will not be affected
- Outlines potential benefits to Mannar community
By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe
Following Daily Mirror’s expose on the Mannar Island mineral extraction project, the Australian mineral exploration company Titanium Sands Limited (TSL) has issued a press release to the Australian media dated June 30, 2020.
According to the press release the Company is not carrying out any mining activities on Mannar Island and TSL’s activities are currently limited to exploration activities. It further states that exploration activities are being carried out on exploration licenses in accordance with a work programme submitted to and consequently authorized by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB).
“The tenure is owned and operated by local companies that are ultimately wholly owned subsidiaries of TSL and all activities are properly reported to GSMB under the requirements of each exploration license.” The press release further states that TSL doesn’t have the equipment or regulatory approvals to carry out mining activities and that it will not affect marine environments. “TSL has no intention of focusing its project on the coastal zone of Mannar Island. The recently completed scoping study has identified inland areas of Mannar Island that could support a long life project with no impact on the marine environment. Previous preliminary investigations of heavy mineral sands on the shores of Mannar Island indicated they were of too limited extent to warrant further consideration. The recently completed scoping study focused on a long life inland project that would be over 10km from the environmentally important bird habitats on sand shoals and tidal flats east of Mannar Island and adjacent mainland and over 20km from the marine reserves in the Palk Straight, west of Mannar Island.”
Responding to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process it states that an EIA is only required (and will be sought) as part of the approval process under Sri Lanka’s National Environment Act to allow a proponent to commence mining. “The EIA and related activities are carried out by the proponent under the direction of designated Sri Lankan Government Authorities. The process will include discussions with local community groups outlining the potential financial benefits to the Mannar community.
Post mining benefits to the local Mannar community may include employment opportunities as well as fully rehabilitated land with the potential for income producing crops such as cashew, coconut by way of example to be developed for the benefit of the local community. The TSL board wishes to confirm that the project will continue to be developed on Mannar Island under the exploration licenses with the support of GSMB within guidelines already in place.”
- All activities are properly reported to GSMB under the requirements of each exploration licence