Titanium Sands Ltd (ASX:TSL) will continue to carry out mineral sands exploration on Mannar Island in Sri Lanka under its granted exploration licences and with the support of the country’s Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) within guidelines already in place.
The company has reaffirmed this commitment and outlined responses to incorrect media reporting in Sri Lanka in regard to TSL and its Mannar Island project.
Authorised by GSMB
Exploration activities are being carried out on exploration licences in accordance with a work program submitted to and consequently authorised by the GSMB.
TSL’s tenure is owned and operated by local companies that are ultimately wholly-owned subsidiaries of TSL and all activities are properly reported to the GSMB under the requirements of each exploration licence.
The company is not mining on Mannar Island and does not have the equipment or regulatory approvals to do so. Activities are currently limited to exploration activities.
Focus on inland areas
Responding to media statements that the project will affect the marine environment on Mannar Island, TSL said it had no intention of focusing on the coastal zone.
“The recently completed scoping study has identified inland areas of Mannar Island that could support a long-life project with no impact on the marine environment.
“Previous preliminary investigations of heavy mineral sands on the shores of Mannar Island indicated they were of too limited extent to warrant further consideration.”
In regard to bird sanctuaries and other environmental reserves, TSL said: “The recently completed scoping study focused on a long-life inland project would be over 10 kilometres from the environmentally important bird habitats on sand shoals and tidal flats east of Mannar Island and adjacent mainland and over 20 kilometres from the marine reserves in Palk Staight west of Mannar Island.”
In response to a media statement that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has not been approved, TSL said it was not carrying out mining activities on the island.
“An EIA is only required (and will be sought) as part of the approval process under Sri Lankan’s National Environment Act to allow a proponent to commence mining.
“The EIA and related activities are carried out by the proponent under the direction of designated Sri Lankan Government Authorities.
“This process will include discussions with local community groups outlining the potential financial benefits to the Mannar community.”
TSL added: “Post mining benefits to the local Mannar community may include employment opportunities as well as fully rehabilitated land with the potential for income-producing crops to be developed for the benefit of the local community (such as cashew or coconut crops by way of example).”