A strategic development project to create a special zone for heavy industries at Sampur in Trincomalee at a cost of US$ 4 billion or more than Rs. 500 billion has been given the green light by the Government.
The first phase will see the construction of a deep-water jetty and a stockpile yard at a cost of US$ 700 million (more than Rs. 88.26 billion). The second phase will involve the construction of an iron ore and coke production plant at a cost of US$ 1,300 million (more than Rs. 163.86 billion). The third and the final phase costing US $ 2,000 million (more than Rs. 252 billion) will be a ship-building and repair facility, plant and machinery manufacturing, an automobile assembly plant and smaller support industries.
Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has told his Cabinet colleagues that the proposed zone would result in the creation of more than 10,000 employment opportunities, township development and enhancement of social infrastructure in the area.
An extent of more than 819 acres has been given on a 99-year lease as a BOI venture to Sri Lanka Gateway Industries (Pvt) Ltd., a company registered in Singapore. The Government is already negotiating with an Indian government firm to set up a US $ 500 million (over Rs 63 billion) coal fired power plant also in Sampur.
Minister Abeywardena has noted that the “provision of essential economic infrastructure in a dedicated Special Infrastructure Zone will underpin the future development of the North-East (sic) province.” This is an erroneous reference to the demerged Northern and Eastern Provinces. He added “A Special Industry Zone will diversify the economic base of Sri Lanka through the attraction of new high value industries with further opportunities for the development of light industries and support services.”