A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Scientific and Technical Cooperation was signed between Sri Lanka and Australia on 5 November in Canberra.
Geological Survey and Mines Bureau of Sri Lanka (GSMB) Chairman W.M.A.S. Iddawela and Geoscience Australia (GA) Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Johnson signed the MoU at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia.
The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Australia J.C Weliamuna and Senior GSMB Director Udaya De Silva attended the event, representing the Government of Sri Lanka. GA Chief of Resources Division Dr. Andrew Heap, Assistant Secretary Ian Biggs, and Director Lalita Kapur from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade represented Australia.
Cooperation under this MoU includes: geoscientific investigations; research work on on-shore and off-shore mineral occurrences; geothermal energy potential; geospatial analysis; professional training and capacity building; adoption of latest technology and sharing the technology for value addition of minerals; exchanging scientific and technical information, study visits and scientists; collaboration on individual research activities; participation in training courses and jointly organising geoscience related conferences; exchanging professional geoscientists in areas of mutual interest; and gaining geoscientific knowledge of the currently active geoscientific projects of both parties. This MoU will be in effect for a period of five years with a further extension period of three years.
The signing ceremony of the MoU was followed by a discussion focusing on areas of mutual interest for future cooperation. Making the opening remarks, Assistant Secretary Ian Biggs said the signing of the MoU is one of the important achievements, following the visits of the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 2017, and it would help to strengthen the cooperation between GSMB and GA, and explore opportunities and tangible activities with concrete outcomes. While addressing the gathering, High Commissioner Weliamuna stated that signing of the MoU concerned would open new areas of trade and investment opportunities for both countries. GA Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Johnson said that Geoscience Australia is looking forward to strengthening its relations with GSMB in pursuing scientific and technical cooperation in Earth Sciences. GSMB Chairman W.M.A.S. Iddawela thanked all the Sri Lankan and Australian agencies for their contribution towards signing this MoU and invited an Australian delegation from GA to visit Sri Lanka to continue further engagement between the two countries.