COPE directs to investigate the sale of 85000 MT of Ilmenite immediately and submit a report within a month. The Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Prof. Charitha Herath, requested the Secretary to the Ministry of Industries, Anusha Pelpita, to immediately investigate and submit a report on the tender awarded by Lanka Mineral Sands Limited for the sale of 85,000 metric tons of ilmenite at USD 147 per ton to the third-place bidder instead of the buyer who had offered the highest price of USD 165 per ton of ilmenite.
Officials of Lanka Mineral Sands stated that the tender for the sale had been awarded by a tender subcommittee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers and that the Cabinet had given its approval. The COPE members who drew their attention to this stated that it is observed that the officials of the Lanka Mineral Sands Limited have taken steps to mislead even the Cabinet of Ministers.
It was also revealed that the current price of a metric ton of ilmenite is close to USD 240. The committee focused on the decline in sales in 2020 compared to the total sales in 2018 and 2019. It was revealed that 85,000 metric tons of these ilmenite minerals, which were sold to a buyer in October 2020, are still stored in the Pulmudai , which is causing a loss to the company due to lack of storage facilities.
Officials of Lanka Mineral Sands Limited said that the deadline for the removal of the consignment has been extended due to the prevailing Covid situation. It was revealed that payments had been made only for 65,000 metric tons from this stock and payment for another 20,000 metric tons is to be recovered.
The COPE Chairman recommended to the Secretary to the Ministry of Industries Anusha Pelpita to investigate the matter and submit an immediate report within a month. He also said that the stock of ilmenite should be removed as soon as possible and the arrears should be recovered as soon as possible.