Sri Lanka’s industrial ministry plans to revive a defunct cement plant in Kankesanturai, in the northern Jaffna peninsula, through a joint venture, a government spokesman said.
Industrial Development Minister Kumara Welgama has got cabinet approval to look for "suitable investors" for a joint venture to revive the cement plant which has been closed since 1990, information minister Anura Yapa said Thursday.
This would pave the way for development in the north and give jobs for people there, Yapa said.
Revival of the plant, owned by the listed Lanka Cement, would also help improve competition in the cement market where prices are high and shortages have been experienced in recent months.
The defunct cement plant in Jaffna is sitting on a rich limestone deposit, the basic raw material for cement manufacture.
It has long been eyed by the local unit of multinational Holcim as well as the listed Tokyo Cement, which is partly owned by Japan’s Mitsui.
More recently, India’s Birla group had shown interest in reviving the plant, triggering speculative trading in Lanka Cement shares.
Birla has given the government an initial proposal to revive the cement plant in Kankesanturai following talks in Colombo earlier this year and is to give a more detailed proposal.