Cabinet has decided that a State-owned company will be incorporated to restore and develop the defunct Elephant Pass Saltern with the assistance of the private sector, a Minister said yesterday. Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told media that the Elephant Pass Saltern was in bad condition and that its full scale rehabilitation and reactivation would require a minimum capital investment of around Rs. 450 million.
“As this is a profitable operation, the Government plans to establish a partnership with the private sector. The State-owned company will be incorporated for the purpose of design and development of the saltern, the primary objectives being the manufacture, sale and export of salt and its related products,” he said.
The Cabinet paper was submitted by Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda. Approval was given to undertake and submit a feasibility report to the Treasury in order to obtain the initial capital required for the project.
Permission was given to authorise the Commissioner of Lands to release the saltern land as shown in the survey plan dated in 1972 made on behalf of the Survey General to the State-owned company after incorporation of same, the Cabinet paper stated.
After this is done, the Government will call for expressions of interest from the private sector to participate in the project as envisaged by the Ministry.
Private sector companies will also be required to submit expressions of interest to design the saltern and related infrastructure, develop overall infrastructure and prepare salt beds.
“The Ministry is of the view that considering the present destroyed and devastated status of the saltern, it is essential to commence operations without delay. The Ministry hopes that this venture will create employment benefits for resettled people and increase the export of industrial salt, which has significant global demand.”