Any potential disruptions to salt production or supply as a result of the MV X- Press Pearl disaster is not expected in the country, even in the coming days,
Speaking to us, Ministry of Industries Secretary V.P.K. Anusha Pelpita stated that no issue will arise with regard to local salt production because the container ship wreckage incident took place at the Colombo Port anchorage.
The Secretary to the Ministry stated: “The Industries Ministry only has two salt factories: one in Mannar and the other in Elephant Pass in Jaffna,” implying that there are two salt production-related entities under the purview of the Ministry. These are Mantai Salt Ltd. (MS), located in Mannar, and the Elephant Pass Saltern in Jaffna. These institutions are far away from the sea area that is gravely affected by the debris of the ship that sailed under the flag of Singapore.
Thus, salt production and its industry is unaffected, as even the saltern lagoons are not situated in the polluted marine area.
Meanwhile, during a press conference yesterday (1), Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana stated that there was no salt shortage in the country and the reports claiming that there is a shortage are false. He noted that he had discussed this matter with the heads and secretaries of the salt storage facilities in Hambantota and Puttalam.
According to Pelpita, between 160,000-165,000 tonnes of salt per year is enough for local consumption. He said that out of that, 30,000 tonnes of salt is used for food production, such as in bakeries.
“As far as I know, the country has stocks of salt for more than two years at the moment,” he said, highlighting that the assumption that the salt industry would be affected cannot be taken into consideration, because currently, the country has enough salt stocks to last a period of more than two years.
Mantai Salt Ltd., formerly the Sri Lanka National Salt Corporation, is a manufacturer of common salt (98%- NaCl), iodine mixed salt, crushed salt, and industrial salt. The state-owned enterprise manufactures 21,000 metric tonnes per annum, stated Minister of Industries Wimal Weerawansa when speaking to The Morning Business on an earlier occasion.
The Elephant Pass Saltern, which is situated in the gateway of the Jaffna Peninsula, is the largest saltern in the island with an annual production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes. The administration of the mentioned saltern has been assigned to Mantai Salt Ltd. and the production process recommenced in that saltern in January 2016 onwards, as it was previously abandoned due to the civil war.
Thus, Mantai Salt Ltd. administrates two salterns in the Mannar District and one in the Jaffna District, namely, the Chemmani Saltern.