COPE orders investigation into dodgy Ilmenite sale

The COPE committee has ordered an investigation into how Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd sold 85,000 metric tons of Ilmenite for a third-placed bidder and not the highest bidder a Parliamentary press release said.

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.

According to the press release the third-placed bidder had paid USD147 per MT while the highest bidder had offered USD165 per ton. The sale had also been approved by a Cabinet sub-committee.

The COPE members who drew their attention to this issue said 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. (Colombo, March 25, 2021)

-Reported by Arjuna Ranawana-


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