to ascertain whether the country has gold deposits
- A survey conducted in 1970 at Seruwawila had revealed that there was gold in small quantities
By Sandun A Jayasekera
Sri Lanka has ventured into gold exploration to determine whether the country has gold deposits to be exploited commercially, a senior official of the Environment Ministry said.
Secretary of the Ministry of Environment- Dr. Anil Jasinghe told Daily Mirror that a discussion was held last week with the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) and the Department of Wild Life Conservation to see the possibility of issuing a license to carry out excavation at Seruwawila in the Trincomalee District for gold.
“A survey conducted in 1970 at Seruwawila had revealed that there was gold in small quantities in a deposit of iron- ore mixed with copper. What we are trying to ascertain is that whether there is gold in iron deposits to be commercially exploited,” Dr. Jasinghe said.
He expressed reservations on the exaggeration of certain media that a vast deposit of gold had been found in Seruwawila which was incorrect.
“However, if gold is found in Sri Lanka, series of legal, environmental and commercial procedures have to be followed such as determining the full quantity of gold deposits, calling for tenders for prospective miners and doing Environment Impact Assessment etc.,” he added.
Right now, the GSMB was charging Rs. 3,000 annual fee for the exploration of one acre, it is said.
“Meanwhile 87 million tons of iron- ore has been found at Panirendawa in Chillaw and the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Industries has agreed to commence mining activities,” Dr. Jasinghe said.
The excavations of iron- ore found at Buttala Kurampola and Chilaw Panirendawa were to be carried out by the government. A discussion between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Industries had already been held as to how to utilise the iron- ore deposits for the benefit of the government, Dr. Jasinghe noted.
Officials of the GSMB confirmed that research carried out by the GSMB on the Kurampola iron- ore deposit covered an area of about 26 square kilometers and at least 86 million tons of iron deposits could be commercially exploited.