Farmers urge to use Eppawala Phospate Deposit for nation welfare

The farmer organizations in the Anuradhapura District said that no government has taken action to use the Eppawala Phosphate Deposit for the benefit of the nation.

The Integrated Farmer Organisations Federation has submitted the matter to Minister S.M. Chandrasena and State Ministers Shehan Semasinghe, Duminda Dissanayake, Channa Jayasumana including the District Development Council Chairman Parliamentarian K.H. Nandasena.

They have appealed Anuradhapura Government Agent R.M. Wanninayake and the District Agriculture Committee to intervene in the issue.

The Eppawala phosphate deposit is in the Anuradhapura District is about 240 km from Colombo and 140 km from the Trincomalee Harbor. The deposit was discovered on April 4, 1971 by the then Geological Survey Department. The deposit has 60 million metric tonnes of phosphate. The Eppawala phosphate deposit is classified as a high grade deposit because it contains about 30 - 40 per cent of phosphate and one of the richest and unique apatite deposits in the world.

The deposit is in six hills rising from maximum elevation of about 200 meters from the sea level and covering a huge area. The Eppawala Phosphate Company, a Government owned company, has mining rights of 19 hectares. Before the discovery of the deposit, a large amount of rock phosphate fertiliser was imported.

According to the phosphate company's sources, the production of rock phosphate fertiliser had began in 1974 and since then nearly last 50 years, only about 3 per cent of the total reserve has been consumed. It is still continuing to supply Eppawala Rock phosphate fertiliser (ERP) used only for plantation crops like tea, rubber and coconut and annual use is confined to about 60,000 mt.

The sources reveal that in 2007 all plans were approved to produce single super phosphate suitable for all crops including paddy and the environment licence too was granted. The experts point out if this project was realised as planned and Rs. 32 billion was spent on importing chemical fertiliser mainly Triple Super Phosphate. This matter has been already brought to the notice of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by a team of experts including university experts.

 

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