Make full use of Eppawala Phosphate deposit - University geologists and soil scientists | Daily News

Make full use of Eppawala Phosphate deposit - University geologists and soil scientists

Eppawala Rock Phosphate products
Eppawala Rock Phosphate products

The Eppawala phosphate deposit contains phosphate required for the country’s agriculture for more than a hundred years, a recent research confirmed. At a recent exploratory survey conducted by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau concerning the Anuradhapura Eppawala phosphate deposit, it has been found that the deposit contains 25 million tons of phosphate. It is an amount of phosphate required for 100 year ahead. The latest research has confirmed that the phosphate is present in an area of two square kilometers covering around 350 hectares, whereas it had been confirmed earlier that phosphate was present in an area of 1.83 square kilometers. It has now been identified that there is a large amount of phosphate in the southern region and it cannot be explored formally at present since the particular area is inhabited. Under the circumstances a group of geologists and soil scientists, majority of them representing the universities have submitted proposals to the government authorities to exploit the phosphate resources at Eppawala apatite deposit supposed to be one of the richest and unique such deposit in the world to overcome the controversial national fertilizer issue and the economic depression. They have pointed out since the discovery of the Eppawala phosphate deposit in 1971 by the geologists so far only 3 percent of the total reserves have been consumed, that is also being limited to manufacture Rock phosphate powder. The experts have emphasized that this is the most appropriate time to process triple single super phosphate etc., suitable for mainly paddy and various other crops thus putting a full stop to importation of such fertilizers and instead creating an export market for our Eppawala Value added fertilizer varieties.

It is learnt that 85 percent of the phosphate in the Eppawala Phosphate Deposit is currently supplied only for mixing TSP fertilizers. No Sustainable plan has been made to look for the possibility of exporting the natural phosphate fertilizer as a value added product. It has been scientifically proven that the Eppawala Phosphate Deposit is a natural fertilizer deposit and contain very little cadmium, which is a special attractive feature for fertilizer producers.

The Fertilizer scientists in this context have submitted further that it was very unsatisfactory to see that the activities of the Eppawala phosphate deposit have confined only to act as a supplier of solid rock phosphate powder under the trade name of Eppawala Rock Phosphate, for the benefit of large scale fertilizer industrial companies. According to the Lanka Phosphate Limited information sources, as an example, an initiative progressive step such as a separate fertilizer mixing project was established in Wariyapola in North Western Province in 2014 for the benefit of coconut cultivators in Sri Lanka.

There the Eppawala Rock Phosphate is mixed with Urea and Muriate of potash and marketed as a quality product for coconut farmers with an achievement of average sales of 150-200 metric tons per month. But with the total ban of chemical fertilizer imports the operation at this plant has come to a standstill.

The fertilizer experts point out that since the fertilizer is a competitive business the government policies needed to support such innovative operations by reviving such dysfunctional plants and control the imports and sales of substitutes or similar products in order to sustain in the competitive market.

It is learnt that the Wariyapola Plant has the capacity of processing around 500 mt of Coconut fertilizer. However, the recent exploration conducted by the GSMB in collaboration with the Environment Ministry and the Industries Ministry an advance step has been taken to make effective use of the Eppawala national phosphate deposit to provide the most suitable phosphate fertilizer for both carbonic and chemical agriculture to get over the prevailing fertilizer crisis.


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