Production of industry-specific quartz raw material using Sri Lankan vein quartz

  • S. S. Pathirage
  • P. V. A. Hemalal
  • L. P. S. Rohitha
  • N. P. RatnayakeEmail author
Original Article


High-purity quartz is a major raw material in many high-tech applications. Sri Lanka is rich in quartz mineralization, with an abundance of major vein quartz deposits with purity levels exceeding 99.5% SiO2. Developing high-tech products requires considerable capital investment, expertise, and advanced processing technologies which are lacking in developing countries like Sri Lanka. In most developing countries raw quartz with limited added value is exported to industrialized countries in grit and powder forms only after size reduction of run-of quarry quartz. We here examine an alternative approach, in which value addition is achieved by production of semi-processed and processed industry-specific quartz raw material for export. Chemical compositions of major types of vein quartz from seven vein quartz deposits and products of mass scale quartz processing at a plant located in the Badulla district of Uva Province, Sri Lanka were determined in study. Critical step evaluation in mining, transport and processing activities was carried out with reference to Fe and other critical trace elements, from data determined using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy and atomic absorption spectroscopy. The results show that industrially critical trace element contents vary with type of quartz, association of accessory minerals, physical separation methods, transport practices, and comminution methods. We conclude that industry-specific quartz raw material can be produced through a combination of selective mining and exercising quality control during mining, transportation and processing activities.


Quartz Quartz purification High-quality quartz Quartz raw material 



We are grateful to Professor in Geology Barry Roser, New Zealand, for his constructive comments and suggestions. We are also thankful to the Mrs. Shamalee Siriwardhana Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Sri Lanka, Mrs. Ranjani Amarasinghe of the Department of Earth Resources Engineering, University of Moratuwa and Mr. K. Kumaranayagam, Managing Director, Woolimlanka (Pvt) Ltd., for various support in field and laboratory work. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. S. Pathirage
    • 1
  • P. V. A. Hemalal
    • 1
  • L. P. S. Rohitha
    • 1
  • N. P. Ratnayake
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Earth Resources EngineeringUniversity of MoratuwaMoratuwaSri Lanka

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