SiO2–High Purity Quartz

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 runof quarry quartz.

Research and Findings

High-purity quartz has many applications in hightech industries as a raw material, including semiconductors, microchips, industrial integrated circuits, high temperature lamp tubing, telecommunication devices, optical fibers, microelectronics, chemically reinforced glasses, and solar silicon cells (Haus 2005; Huang et al. 2013). Natural quartz deposits with low impurities are suitable as sources of raw material for hightech applications or in mass products such as valueadded glasses and refractories. Most of these products are relatively expensive, and production of such highend items can thus generate considerable revenue.

Sri Lanka contains many vein quartz deposits with purity levels exceeding 99.5% SiO2 these deposits hold great potential for future development of the country’s mineral industry. Non- industrialized countries (including Sri Lanka) export raw quartz in grit and powder forms with little value addition to more industrialized countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea. Grit and powder production only involves size reduction of runofquarry quartz. Countries with low gross domestic products (GDP) such as Sri Lanka are compelled to export their mineral wealth in little-processed form to earn muchneeded foreign exchange. Further processing is carried out in the more industrialized countries, with removal of impurities using simple and advanced techniques to refine quartz products suitable for differing high-tech applications earning higher revenues.