Sept 01, Colombo: The Convener of a civil society movement, The Anti-Corruption Voice of Sri Lanka, Wasantha Samarasinghe said that a plan is being compiled by the Chairman and other officials of Lanka Phosphate Company to sell the Eppawala apatite deposit to China.
Samarasinghe said that the Chairman of the Lanka Phosphate Company is considering the phosphate deposit as a personal property. The movement charged that the Chairman uses the funds of the company in various projects and swindles them.
Samarasinghe pointed out that Rs.650 million has been spent to construct an 850-meter road inside the phosphate deposit and a factory has been started in a land belonged to a temple in Kurunegala area without a feasibility study.
Lanka Phosphate Company (LPL) has exclusive mining rights over 450 hectares of land in Eppawala, where the rock phosphate deposit is located.
The deposit is currently estimated at 60 million metric tons containing 33-40% of Phosphorous pentoxide (P2O5) and is considered to be one of the richest and unique Phosphate deposits in the world.
The company, fully owned by the General Treasury on behalf of the government, is accused of short supply of rock phosphate to fertilizer production companies.
Lanka Phosphate Limited Chairman Jaliya Kulasekara in June said the Chinese-built grinding mill had broken down.
Currently LPL produces Eppawala Rock Phosphate (ERP) and High-Grade Eppawala Rock Phosphate (HERP) which are used as fertilizer for perennial crops such as tea, rubber and coconut.
LPL is in the process of manufacturing Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertilizer which is equally efficient Phosphate fertilizer to substitute for Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) which is the major Phosphate fertilizer used for paddy and vegetable cultivation.
TSP fertilizer is currently imported as the capacity of the plant is insufficient to meet the annual country demand of 75,000 metric tons of phosphate.