Industrial Minerals in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is well-endowed with industrial minerals including Graphite, Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Quartz, Feldspar, Clay, Kaolin, Apatite (Phosphate Rock),Silica Sand, Garnet sand, Mica, Calcite and Dolomite.
Pulmoddai beach sand deposit is the most important non-ferrous mineral reserve in Sri Lanka to date. This deposit contains minerals including one of the most expensive and sought after metals in the world - titanium.
Ilmanite (FeTiO2) and rutile (TiO2) are found in enormous concentrations in the Pulmoddai beach sand deposit area. Several other beach mineral-sand deposits of Monazite, Zircon , garnet and Ilmanite are found in various parts of the island and are now being exported.
The use of graphite in Sri Lanka has a long history, that dates back to 1675. Sri Lankan graphite has gained popularity all over the world for its high purity and offers many processing applications in graphite lubricants, flake graphite, carbon brushes, refractory bricks and midget electrodes and nano-technology.
Three main types of clay - kaolinite, ball clay and brick clay - are used for export industries. Yellow, red and blue colour ball clay is found in Sri Lanka’s hill country. These are used to make casts and as refractory material because of their attributes of strength and high plasticity. Brick clay is found in most of the river valleys and is commonly used in the production of bricks and tiles.
Quartz, ball clay, silica and feldspar are utilized in the ceramics and glass industries with great success; the country's porcelain is ranked among the best in the world.
Sri Lanka’s natural resources include another valuable economic mineral reserve known as apatite rock phosphate. It is estimated that the reserve consists of 60 million tones of apatite which is generally used to produce phosphate fertilizer.