Please note this is a June/2014 article.
To most mining mavens, Sri Lanka was a land of mystery, onerous state intervention and certainly not one of mining. Sri Lankan graphite deposits are some of the richest on the planet. Under British colonial rule in the early 1900s, the nation was a significant graphite producer and exporter. Independence came in the 1950s and then there was a distinct socialistic trend in governments in the following decades culminating in the nationalization of the graphite sector in 1971.
The private sector was allowed back into Sri Lanka’s graphite industry in the early 1990s, but by that time, problems with the civil war were preventing development on a large scale. Additionally many of the State owned mines had been over-exploited, allowed to deteriorate and had not been subject to meaningful exploration to find new reserves.
The opening of the mining sector in recent years presents an opportunity for foreign companies to pursue Sri Lankan graphite on a significant scale.